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 gets ready to compete in the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon, here on Sunday.
Mother of two, Pooja was diagnosed with varicose veins in the year 2010 as she took up running inspire by her husband and is now fully fit and a veteran of about a dozen road races nationally and internationally.
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 told PTI in an interview.
"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 Counselling, Pooja is has been training running a saree in December and hopes to break Jayanthi's record.
"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 as she is targeting a time of four hours 44 minutes at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon tomorrow.
Pooja will be accompanied by a cyclist ahead of her with a go pro-camera behind his cycle to record the full race as she will hope to get into the record books with her unique feat.
She says running is in fact easy in a saree.
"Initally, I was not even able to run even a kilometre but with a month 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.
"I am really looking forward for tomorrow's race and hope to finish it on a happy note. By running in a saree, I hope I can encourage women of all ages to persue some physical activity in their routine," she concluded.