BENGALURU: Women don’t run for many reasons, but one common concern is what do they wear for the run? Few are comfortable with track pants or the stretchable joggers or shorts. A runners group in south Bengaluru has therefore come up with an interesting solution — run in whatever, even sarees, just get running.
Jayanagar Jaguars or JJ is one of the oldest running groups in the city has been organising various fitness events, such as marathons and workshops here. Started about nine years ago, this group has evolved and grown into one of the largest running groups. The motto of the group is “fitness is fun”.
Their next event, titled “Breaking Stereotypes”, allows a fun saree/ traditional attire run for women to overcome social discomfort in embracing fitness.
Anjana Mohan, the organiser, says, “What stops a woman who wants to run is two things. One is that they consider taking time off for themselves as a luxury. And second is they don’t think fitness is necessary”. She wants women to realise that fitness is a “necessity not a luxury”.
JJ has held many workshops and orientation programmes to bust myths around women’s fitness. They discuss food and exercises during their sessions.
“Periods and thigh chaffing too keep women off running. JJs organises workshops to address these issues,” says Anjana.
The JJs have tied up with the Sports Authority of India.The Olympic team runners have been a part of their earlier events and encouraged the cause. Coach Pramod Deshpande, who trains the JJs emphatically adds, “Everybody can run. Women make more enduring runners than men.”
Got family’s backing
Vani Rajendra started running about a year and half ago. She runs with her daughter Preksha. “I and my daughter run together. My mom who is 73 years old will be joining us for the next event. If you have to run your house, you have to run to keep yourself fit,” says Vani.
Most women do not take up running as they are not comfortable wearing the runner’s gear. “Because of the outfits, many women don’t take to running, unlike other forms of exercise,” adds Anjana.
Jayashree Mudaliar, who started running two years ago says,
“Most women use their social obligations as an excuse. I have been a couch potato all my life and took to running just two years ago. I wanted to get some time for myself.” When asked about her family’s opinion about her participation in marathons she says,”My husband was always supportive, my 13-year-old son is super proud that I can run faster than him and play football with him”.
Shesin, another runner who has participated in many other saree runs, says, “We were just seven to eight members when we started running and now it’s great to see 62 women who will be running in saree and salwar.”
Anjana says, “One woman who said she cannot get permission to run is now running ultra marathons. ”