Marathon for women in saree to be held in Hyderabad on March 17

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: Women dressed in colorful sarees and sneakers are preparing to break a dress-code barrier at the Saree Run in Hyderabad. At People’s Plaza on Necklace Road on March 17, a first-of-its-kind event in Hyderabad encourages women in their midlife to begin a fitness adventure while dressing comfortably.

A three-kilometer course marked with barricades, water stations, and small refreshments will be used during the run. Two ambulances equipped with female physicians and nurses will be kept on standby.

“We are trying to create a carnival atmosphere. The objective is to create awareness and help women give priority to fitness, and while on this run, have some fun. Bring your friends along,” Jayashree, one of the organisers of the Saree Run told The Hindu.

Hoping to create change, the members spoke to different women to find out why they do not prioritize fitness. The most common answer was not having time, and some said they didn’t look good in the attire. “So, fitness has become synonymous with attire,“ Jayashree said, adding, “Female celebrity role models have an hourglass figure, which is far away from reality. The rest of us are still struggling with body image issues and dealing with body shaming.”

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The Jayanagar Jaguars, a Bengaluru-based running group, started training for a half-marathon, which is when the Saree Run narrative started. “This group had only four women, which sparked off a conversation,” said Jayashree. Coach Pramod Deshpande said, “Women are reluctant to start fitness routines.”

The initial stage was to compel the middle-aged (in 30s) women to step outside and participate in an activity that would motivate them to make fitness a priority. The target audience are homemakers because the goal is to debunk stereotypes. 

“An Instagrammer displaying her accomplishments on social media and dressed in a T-shirt and shorts for a marathon feels like a foreigner. However, these women are much like you and me. They push boundaries, carve out space for themselves, and maintain balance despite facing several difficulties at home,” she added.

Sari runs have taken place in Bengaluru (where they first started in 2016), Pune, and Kolkata. Only 20 women participated in the first run-in, but 7,500 people showed up in 2023. Women wore their best sarees; some wore nauvaris, some in nine yards in a south Indian style, and some in the Coorgi or Gujarati styles.

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