This Musician Ran a Marathon Without a Tampon to Fight 'Period Stigma'

Drummer Kiran Gandhi is making noise in the world without her drum set after running a marathon in quite a dramatic way.

The 26-year-old made headlines after she ran 26.2 miles while on her period — without a tampon.

Gandhi detailed the experience on her website, speaking out about her decision to continue the race despite the poor timing. "I got my flow the night before and it was a total disaster but I didn't want to clean it up," she wrote.

After training for a year in preparation, Gandhi ran the London Marathon in April while "freely bleeding" to confront the period stigma, and to honor her family roots in India, where women have little to no access to menstrual products. 

In a blog post on her website titled, "Sisterhood, Blood and Boobs at the London Marathon," Gandhi explained how she came to terms with her decision to follow through with the race.  

"It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles. I thought, if there's one person society won't f—k with, it's a marathon runner. If there's one way to transcend oppression, it's to run a marathon in whatever way you want."


26 miles | 26 years | 26th of April

A photo posted by Kiran Gandhi (@madamegandhi) on

Gandhi also spoke to Cosmopolitian about the experience, noting the bouts of pain and anxiety she felt about her courageous act prior to and during the race.

"I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don't have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn't exist. I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn't have imagined until the day of the race."


A photo posted by Kiran Gandhi (@madamegandhi) on

Gandhi finished the race in 4 hours, 49 minutes, 11 seconds, period stains and all. 

"I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day."

Gandhi's act of bravery had more than a viral impact. By completing the race, she also raised $6,000 for breast cancer awareness.

"We were running for a greater cause, we were running for breast cancer. When you have that much support, you want to do a good job, " she told Cosmo.


Hugging my dad at the mile 18 cheer point!!!!

A photo posted by Kiran Gandhi (@madamegandhi) on

In addition to receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School and working to transform the music industry through activism work, Gandhi is also a drummer for singer M.I.A.  

See more photos of her marathon here.

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Photo Credit: Instagram, Bloomberg via Getty Images