Saree has always been associated with style and substance but Kolkata homemaker Pooja Jain wants to ensure that it soon becomes a sporting attire as she got ready to compete in the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon, here on Sunday.
Pooja was diagnosed with varicose veins in the year 2010 as she took up running inspired by her husband. However, after about a dozen road races nationally and internationally, she is now fully fit.
Pooja made switch to full marathon in the first edition of the Kolkata Marathon last year and then she came across the story of Hyderabad housewife Jayanthi Sampath Kumar who stunned everyone running in a full marathon last year August.
"I want other women to come up and do some physical activities. Women tend to be laid back so I want to motivate them," Pooja said.
"If women become physically more active, I'm sure their entire family will be active. They will ensure the kids will stay fit and fine. The nation will be fit. I'm all excited," Pooja, who is mother to an 18-year-son and a 15-year-old daughter, added.
On the eve of the marathon, Pooja had a pleasant surprise in store for her when Face of the event Sachin Tendulkar personally wished her luck.
"It was great to meet my sporting idol. He had some inspiring words for me and wished me all the luck. I'm all geared up," Pooja said.
A diploma holder in Psychological Counseling, Pooja has been training running in a saree in December.
"I've been running on Red Road, near Rabindra Sarovar Lake. I'm very confident and not at all tense. I'm very happy running in a saree," she said.
Pooja was accompanied by a cyclist ahead of her with a go pro-camera behind his cycle to record the full race.
She says running is in fact easy in a saree.
"Initially, I was not even able to run even a kilometer, but with my husband's guidance, I could debut in half-marathon," Pooja, who has a personal best in 2:11:30 in half marathon said.
She has run marathons across various cities such as Kuala Lumpur Marathon, Hyderabad, Delhi, Singapore, Mumbai to name a few.
She even ran as a pacer for few Half Marathons and helped the runners to complete their run in time.