The world around us is full of superhuman who may not have the superpower of the animated superheroes but have the zeal to set an example which can change the future forever. It might not be an invention or a discovery that’s going to revolutionize the world but a simple idea which might seem funny to some but can liberate generations to come and don’t be surprised if the change maker is a beautiful Indian woman who takes up the liberation of Indian woman to another orbit.
She is a homemaker,a beloved wife ,a doting mother ,a marathon runner and a change maker who has changed the way we see marathon running forever. Presenting the beautiful,energetic, magnificient Pooja jain from kolkata who is one of the pioneer marathon runners to run a full marathon in a saree,and who have inspired thousands of running aspirants to take up running in their favourite saree instead of switching to the running gears inspired by the western world.
She is one of the pioneer to advocate running in a saree is possible and now fashionable with her first official world record attempt at IDBI Federal Kolkata Full Marathon 2018 in January this year,and we were fortunate enough to catch up with her as she comes out with her vision ,mission and inspirations.
Pix at #Parague Marathon
“I am a home maker and a mother of 2. I had never imagined in my life that I would be a marathon runner. My main goal was to look after my kids and family and that was always my first priority in life. It was my good fortune that I was surrounded by the right set of people who encouraged me to run and motivated me to achieve so much. My biggest source of inspiration is my husband Rahul Jain who is a marathon runner. 6 years ago, he started running marathons and I used to be his travel companion for almost all marathons in India and abroad. I used to wait at the finish line for him to finish his race. The emotional highs I experienced amongst the crowd at the finish line moved me deeply. Some runners were struggling to complete the run, few runners were helping other runners to make it to the finish line, some were very excited to get a medal, some were so happy to achieve their targets that they couldn’t stop their emotions and started crying. Feeling all the energy and emotions in a marathon, I could not stop myself from being a part of this wonderful experience.
Pix of Kuala lumpur Marathon
One fine morning Rahul casually asked me to start morning walk. Next morning he accompanied me for a walk and I found it very difficult to finish even one kilometer walk. I was very tired during the walk and the entire day felt tiresome. I told myself that walking is not my cup of tea. We tried walking for a week but I did not enjoy it. We took a break for few days and one fine morning Rahul pushed me to continue again, for a jog this time. First day I managed to jog n walk for 1km and that day was a better experience. Slowly and gradually with Rahul’s support I could manage to run a km non stop. It took me a month to be able to run 1km. With few months of training I could run 5km and then graduated to 10km. My first 10km run was TSK25 in December 2015. I was so happy to complete my first 10k run.
For next 2 months Rahul trained me for half marathon. I ran my first Half Marathon, IDBI Federal Half Marathon, on 6th March 2016.That was the first half marathon we ran together as a couple. Rahul was on top of the world when I finished my first half marathon. Earlier I used to feel proud to see Rahul’s medals and now it’s both ways. 2016 was a wonderful year for us in running as we completed 8 half marathons in one year. Now, I was ready to take on more and I started training for full marathon.
My first Full Marathon was IDBI FEDERAL Kolkata Full Marathon in Jan 2017 and I managed to secure a podium finish. I won gold medal in my maiden Full Marathon. In 2017 I completed 6 Full Marathons and a triathlon – Olympic category. I also secured a Gold medal Podium finish at Goa river marathon in December 2017.”
When it comes to achievements,the list goes longer than a marathon itself which started with her First half marathon which was the IDBI Federal Marathon Kolkata in the year 2016.
Other HMs :
1. Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon.
2. Airtel Hyderabad Marathon.
3. Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
4. Airtel Run for Education, Kolkata 2016.
5. Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
6. TSK 25K, 2016 – placed 4th
7. Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
8. BSF HM – Pacer.
9. Airtel Run for Education, Kolkata 2017 – Pacer.
10. TSK 25K, 2017 – placed 4th.
11. Kolkata Police HM – placed 4th.
Her first full marathon was the IDBI Federal Kolkata Marathon in the year 2017 in which she was a podium finisher – 1st position.
Other FMs :
2. Gold Coast Marathon.
3. Warsaw Marathon.
4. Koln Marathon.
5. Goa River Marathon – placed 1st.
6. IDBI Federal KFM 2018 – 2nd position
She also secured the 1st position in the Calcutta Swimming Club 10km run as well as in the Bengal Rowing Club 10km along with being the only female from Kolkata who attempted Olympic Triathlon – Hyderabad 2017 ,also they are the only running couple who run international marathons from Kolkata. She was also elected as the Brand ambassador at the very first edition of Pinkathon at kolkata.
In the year 2010 she was diagnosed for Varicose Veins which was overcome with the help of Running ,which has become a way of life for her.When she is not running she uses her expertise as a trained Psychological counsel who trains the students of NGO Dakshini Prayash in Kolkata.
When asked about why she chose this challenge of running in a saree,she says “Saree has always been a part of our culture. It is a very elegant couture and people around the world admire it. They identify Indian women with it. A few generations back, our great grandmothers used to do all the laborious work around the house in a saree. Wars have been fought in a saree. Now a days, there is a major disconnect where Indian women and girls are losing touch with their roots and feel insecure in a saree. They prefer western outfits over saree. I decided to run in a saree so that women can see, if a marathon can be run in a saree, you surely can do everyday chores in a saree.
I had never really decided to run marathons and win medals. I just kept practicing and doing what I like, and things fell in place. My future plans continue to be the same. I plan to continue running and following my passion and see what is there in store for me ahead.”
In her message to Indian Woman she says ” I want to inspire women to be healthy and active physically. In Indian households, women tend to devote their entire time to kids, family and responsibilities and don’t really pay attention to their physical fitness. I want that to change, after all a healthy mom will make healthy kids and healthy future generations.”
The courage and will power in the 9 yards of saree may become the next big thing of woman empowerment on the way to health through running and i sincerely wish that more and more mothers come out to take up running with pride in the saree which makes beautiful,every Bhartiya Naari.