Running in a sari

Running in a sari

My lovely UK-based friend Kathakoli Dasgupta met her (now) husband here in Delhi, thanks (largely) to our running group…nah, truth be told, Katha met Dave thanks to one of the lovely gals in my running group, but we were ALL part of their budding romance and we ALL decided (on WhatsApp) what she should wear to their first date…and we ALL were thrilled to bits when Dave popped the question in the Lodhi Gardens…

But I digress…

These 2 lovely people are now happily married, living in England, and yesterday ran a race in their village, and here is the irrepressible Katha’s story about what was clearly a fun afternoon 🙂 :

It was Club Day weekend in the village.

Three days of funfair, food, music, parade and races—including Freckleton Half Marathon, the oldest in the UK.

All this after 2 years of covid-induced hiatus.

It also falls around the time of our wedding anniversary, so Dave & I do the race to celebrate!

I resumed training from January this year. And it was going well until about 6 weeks back. Work (I run an Indian food catering business) was full on. And I simply couldn’t take out the time for the last bit of training.

5 years back I would have still done it. But age and niggling aches & pains have taught me to listen to my body.

So last week I decided to pull out of the half marathon, though I entered the fun run as a nod to Dave & my relationship.

They start from the same point (literally across the road from our house) within minutes of each other. We also encouraged our nephew (who has never run) who was visiting this weekend to participate and he was a sport! This afternoon (race starts at 2 pm!), as Dave was changing into his running gear—choosing, one, then another vest because the weather was so changeable, I looked in my wardrobe for inspiration.

And the saree called out!

I have always wanted to run in a saree, but because of the distances, never got around to. Given I am anyway making a conscious effort to wear the saree more often, this was my perfect opportunity!

So I wore one—on hindsight a slippery crepe saree was probably not the best choice. But like everything in my life, this has a story too. I got it from my running buddy and friend Joanna who had introduced Dave and me!

Getting back to the race, at the start line, we first waved off the half marathon runners—quite a few of Dave & my friends and acquaintances were doing it too.

Then we set off.

By then the sun was out and it started to get warm. The atmosphere at Freckleton half is always fantastic—locals pitch up outside their houses and assemble at popular pit stops to cheer you. It was the same for the fun run. Everyone clapped and cheered. Familiar faces clapped harder and obviously the saree got a lot of attention. It took a few seconds for people to register I was running in a saree but when they did, they cheered loudly. And with my business growing locally, I even heard a few, ‘Oh she is the lady who does Indian food’ as I ran past groups. So it was a great business promotion to boot! 😉

It was just fabulous! I was smiling ear to ear all of those 20 minutes! So the finish line photo by our friend and neighbour, Les, was a natural!

Soon it was time for us to welcome the half marathon runners back. (The fastest runner was already at 10 mile mark when the fun run finished.) Though their race was harder than they anticipated as it got hotter and hotter. Dave wasn’t expecting a PB as his current training is triathlon focussed, but he still managed a great time and finished 8th in his age category.

As we compared race notes and highs, Dave asked if I could, would I trade the fun run for the half.

No, was my answer!

Awww, Katha, that is such a lovely story, and you both look so happy in your photos!

#keeprunning #keepinspiring, you two 🙂

Race photo credit: Les Lawson who, Katha tells me, was a complete star in going through their photos really quickly, especially for this blog, so here’s a big shout-out to a kind and helpful neighbour 🙂

18 Comments

  1. Haha I clearly remember discussing the first date outfit on our WhatsApp’s group. There was a discussion about jacket or not, you voted yes!
    And I remember ‘the breakfast’ at Joanna LB’s like it was yesterday!
    And thanks for the post.

    Kathakoli Dasgupta
    1. Oh what a nostalgia my heart feels right now..!!! K always a charmer with that infectious smile and Dave ,the introvert(if I remember correct). And the group..sigh!! I need to reconnect with you all. My best wishes to K and Dave on their anniversary and hearty thanks to K and Christine for sharing this. Till we meet again:) LOVE AND HUGS

      Neha Kumar
    1. Ali Barratt thanks. How was it for you? I was waiting for you at the finish line, called out several times when you crossed it, but you probably couldn’t hear me.

      Kathakoli Dasgupta

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