The last thing most women would want the day before running a marathon is to come on their period. But when it happened to Kiran Gandhi on the eve of the London marathon, she decided to take her menstruation in her stride, using it as an opportunity to address period taboos and stand up for women around the world.
The 26-year-old feminist decided to run those 26.2 miles without a tampon, allowing the blood to seep onto her leggings between her legs.
Writing about the experience on her website, Gandhi, who is a drummer for M.I.A and Harvard Business School graduate, said: "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 fuck with, it’s a marathon runner."
Gandhi added: "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."
As well as making a feminist statement, Gandhi managed to raise $6,000 (£3,877) for Breast Cancer Care, along with her two pals.
Her bold move to run free-flowing has been met with mixed reviews online - some people say they respect her decision 100% while others question her "lack of personal hygiene".
She's a certified badass for running a marathon on her period but WHY WOULD ANYONE CHOOSE TO FREE-BLEED. https://t.co/aXEjxIZqX3— Alice BevertonPalmer (@alicebeepea) August 6, 2015
Running a marathon when on your period without a tampon isn't an act of feminism it's a lack of personal hygiene 😅— athena (@__sl97) August 10, 2015
Mad #Respect for Kiran Gandhi! Ran a marathon on her period without a tampon to end period stigmas and raise awareness for those w/o access.— Angela Caselle (@pansexualpagan) August 8, 2015
The girl who ran the marathon whilst on her period, I support 100%.— Small Fry ⚡️ (@L_Platz) August 10, 2015
Meanwhile, executive editor of HuffPost UK, Poorna Bell branded Gandhi's decision to run the marathon free-bleeding as "nonsense".
She wrote: "Gandhi's intention is well-meaning: to raise awareness about women who don't have access to sanitary care. But I also know these same women would think the idea was madness.
"In a rural Indian village, where young girls are likely to miss school because of their periods, if they had a sanitary towel they would use it - they wouldn't let it flow free down their saris to emancipate their sisters.
"The fact is that boycotting tampons is not going to de-stigmatise period shame."
Gandhi told Cosmopolitan that she'd decided to run without a tampon because she was afraid of what it could do to her body.
"I didn't really have good information about what happens when you run on your period," she said.
"For example, they tell you that for men, their nipples will bleed because of the chafing between their shirts and their skin. I worried that a tampon might have the same effect."
The 26-year-old says that the whole experience was incredibly "empowering".
She added: "I was like, 'Running a marathon is a very, very big stretch for me. I need to do whatever it takes to get myself to the end of that line'. We were running for a greater cause, we were running for breast cancer."