Milind Soman Talks Running, Romance and Rumours!

MissMalini , 25 Dec 2013
Milind Soman
Milind Soman

Look who dropped into the MissMalini headquarters recently looking yummier than ever! Milind Soman has been running up a storm with the Pinkathon that he kicked off last year – yup he came and told us all about it back in 2012! :)

Well now he’s made it even bigger (not to mention PINKER!) and launched something he likes to call Mega Pink! Check out our exclusive interview with him about it where he also answered YOUR Twitter questions and told us the craziest rumour he’s ever heard about HIMSELF, watch!

PS. We even did a superfun Twinterview with Milind earlier this year, remember?!

MissMalini: Tell us highlights of the year. How does it feel?

Milind Soman: Well, it feels fantastic one year down the road, after we started Pinkathon in December 2012. We started this event to encourage more women to start paying attention to their health, to understand the value of fitness so they could spread this message to their families. The response has really been overwhelming. We did it in 4 cities in 2013 – we started in Bangalore, Delhi, Pune and then Bombay on the 15th of December. And we had actually thought that we could have 8000 women running across the 4 cities, but almost 12,000 ran in 2013. So that was great encouragement for us to go into the next year, 2014, in six cities. The kind of response we’ve seen across social media and people who’ve supported has just been phenomenal.

MM: And I believe you’ve also started something else called Mega Pink; it’s supposed to be the baap of all Pinkathons. Tell us a bit more about that.

MS: There were a lot of questions that came up when we first did Pinkathon – 1) Why are we only talking to women. There was a reason for that; if you see most of the running events, 80 – 90% of the participants are men. There was really no space for women to run. In a country like India, the women we socialise with are very comfortable with hanging around men, but 99% of Indian women are still conservative. Not only are they conservative, but their families are very conservative. They won’t send a woman from their home to a space where there are 30,000 men and maybe 200 or 300 women. So I thought it was very important to create this space, where there was no pressure or no one watching them. And it worked. So that was the main idea, and to talk about breast cancer awareness and all the issues to do with women. The questions then was how do we take this message to smaller towns and villages. We thought therefore of doing something with social media – it’s something that’s still urban but growing everyday; the Internet is reaching out everyday to more and more people – so we created this event called Mega Pink. It’s talking about women’s health and, using Facebook, we reached out to ambassadors to nominate their cities across India to take part in a run for women’s health on the same day. Mega Pink was born in November and we did 40 cities on the same day.

MM: How did you decide which city you’re going to run in?

MS: Well I had to run in Bombay, because that was the hub of the Mega Pink this year. But since all 40 cities wanted me to be there in their city, we decided that whichever city took the greater initiative and put out the most encouragement to the non-running communities, will be the hub of the Mega Pink next year. So now from this 40 cities, I will pick the city that I will make the hub in March – 30th, to be precise – for the next Mega Pink.

MM: I also believe you’re doing something around Holi and you’re calling it Gulaal?

MS: Mega Pink Gulaal! That’s the next run that we’re doing on the 30th of March and we’re calling it the Mega Pink Gulaal. We want to have a lot of physical colour during this event as well, since it’s around Holi. And in the next Mega Pink, we’re looking at 60 – or maybe even more – cities participating on the same day. It’s a great challenge, and it can only be done with support from every single person in every city. We’re taking this help and seeing how big it can become, because I think the scope is limitless – if you take social media platforms where you can really reach out and motivate people to do their bit. And everybody wants to help, so the response is fantastic.

Twitter questions

“All I want to know is why aren’t you married yet, and will I make the cut?”

MS: I have been married, to a very lovely girl and we were married for just a few years, unfortunately. It was a distance thing; she was sitting in Paris, I was sitting in Bombay, it didn’t work out. But yes, I haven’t written off getting married yet.

“You keep changing your look. What does your style say about you right now? What are you going for?”

MS: I don’t know, I just do what I’m comfortable with. It might have to do with the season, the way I’m feeling about myself, events that are coming up… or if I’ve seen myself in a photograph and say, “Oh, not this anymore, I have to change it.” That’s the reason.

“Are you a Bigg Boss fan? Do you watch the show and who do you think is going to win?”

MS: What’s Bigg Boss?

MM: Hahaha! Good answer :)

MissMalini and Milind Soman
MissMalini and Milind Soman

“How do you maintain your fitness? You’ve been a part of so many marathons; what motivates you to be a part of the running community?”

MS: Well, running has really changed my life. I used to hate running. I think a lot of people who are not runners from childhood hate running. I used to be a swimmer, and we were asked by our coaches to run everyday as part of our training programme, and we used to just want to get done with that 2 or 3 kilometre run and just complain about it after that. But I always had a dream since I was a kid to run a full marathon, because that’s what men do, you know – “a real man should be able to run a full marathon.” When the Mumbai marathon started in 2003 or 2004, I said, “Okay, it’s come to Bombay, I can’t escape it anymore.” So I trained – I got to 5kms, it was awful; I got to 10kms, I couldn’t stand it; I got to 15kms and I just wanted to stop… but when I got to 21 – which is a half-marathon – I started running it quite easily. I began to feel a change in the way I was thinking, in my emotional balance, in my physical body, the way my body functioned. It was an incredible change, and I got hooked to that. If you look around you and see the running community across the world, it’s for this very same addictive quality. It makes you feel emotionally and mentally so good, because of the endorphins or whatever science wants to tell you. The fact is, it makes you feel like a king, and that’s an addiction. Every runner is like an evangelist: we tell people, you have to run, until you don’t run you don’t know what this is going to do to you.

MM: What should you tell yourself as a new runner to be able to get to the 21?

MS: What I tell people when they start running and want tips is – don’t try to run too fast or too hard. Take it very gradually. Most runners start over the age of 30, which means that between 13 to 30 they’ve probably not used their running muscles. So the way to start is to start slow. Start with a 100m, it doesn’t matter. You must enjoy it, you must not be out of breath, and you must be comfortable. You must feel like running more when you stop. As long as you do that, you’ll get to any distance and any speed and any time.

MM: What is the craziest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?

MS: The craziest one was that I was having an affair with Ratan Tata. I don’t know if he’s heard it; I’ve never met him. The first time I heard about it was 7 or 8 years ago, and then I heard it again last year. People were asking me, “Seriously?” And I was like, “What?!” *laughs* That is too funny.

MM: Finally a message to all your Twitter fans.

MS: Start running! Start walking, be fit, be happy, be healthy!

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