Just in Stories

This Nike Pacer Has Taught Us That No Dream Is Too Big To Achieve

December 07, 2016 | by Tatiana Dias
Nike Pooja Featured_Hauterfly

In today’s world, there’s always something that holds you back from following your passion. Whether it’s the lack of time, the fear of failing or even doubting your own abilities, we tend to hide behind our mundane daily lives, making up excuses for not making that dream a reality. But let’s admit it, the person that we aim to be doesn’t require a whole lot of mountain moving; just some prioritising. However, you do know that if a girl sets her mind to something, there is NO stopping her, right? Women often show us that all you need is dedication, determination, and the attitude to cross milestones for your passion —  there is absolutely nothing holding you back! Don’t believe us? Well, have a look at these fiery women Hauterfly’s been featuring over the past few months.

Pooja Shah, 25, is one such girl who shows us that no excuse is too big to keep you from following your dreams. She starting pacing at the Nike+ Run Club (NRC) in Mumbai earlier this year, and hasn’t looked back since. She’s a kickass runner who has a day job like the rest of us. Pooja’s worked hard and proved to herself that she wasn’t that lazy little girl anymore and she’s definitely giving us #GirlBossGoals. By incorporating running in her everyday life, she suggests that there is always a way to make time for the things you love. A real girl anyone can relate to, through her blog Pooja pens down her successes and failures, and motivates others around to do what they love most.

Read on to find out more about this pacer who is an absolute inspiration to every girl.



“I was into dancing and yoga during my college days. For me, it was more for the fun of it rather than staying fit. However, when I started working, that little activity sort of died down due to lack of time. I started running a year ago, in October. How it all started is an interesting story! Our house-help, Seema, used to come dressed in trackpants and t-shirts, rather than in the traditional saree or salwar kameez. I was rather curious and asked her why she dressed that way. I was surprised to learn that she was a marathon runner and also practised karate. She came from a small family in Bengal, was a single mother and, in order to make ends meet and provide a good life for her son, she would do these small jobs on the side, whilst following her dreams of running.

“Seeing this lady make the time to do jobs that are pretty physically demanding, while following her passion, made me think that I should NOT be complaining about being busy and start doing something. So I began running with her; she showed me how to go about it and I haven’t stopped running since then.”



“I joined NRC in March and right after that, I ran a marathon in June and, in 4 months, I cut down 20 minutes in my half marathon time, which is insane, and it was all thanks to my training at NRC. Since I became a pacer at an early stage of my running, it affected my confidence, as there were other pacers who were more experienced — they were the podium finishers and everyone knew that. There was a lot of pressure. The internal struggle I had was a journey that taught me that it was okay to take your time to improve. There will always be someone faster or better, and that’s not something that should bother you. Rather than comparing myself with others and bringing myself down, I now compete with myself — that’s the only thing that bothers me, when I am not moving further with my own time.”



“I was a really lazy kid. I used to be thin and weak. I would go for treks but would get tired easily. When I started running, I could see the difference in my body — I became a lot stronger and could run continuously. I progressed from 2km to 21km in just 4 months. My parents are so surprised that they still don’t believe it. I also started pretty late, so you don’t necessarily need to be running for 8 years to be good.

“Whenever I run, I get this sense of achievement that nothing can beat me, and that’s what motivates me. My entire life now revolves around running. I live a healthier lifestyle – I wake up early and eat healthy now. Running has also made me calm as a person and has taught me that even if things don’t work out right away, everything will be fine eventually. There have been times when I have gone out thinking I am going to do a 15k run and come back after running 3km. We are human and we do give up but, the good part is that I know I will go back the next day! So, quitting is temporary. During my Ladakh marathon, there was a point where I couldn’t move or breathe. All I could think of at that point was a dialogue from Finding Dory where Dory says ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’. So that’s it…one step at the time!”



“Travel is something I really care about besides running. Even when I travelled, I used to sleep late, chill and eat everything that came my way. But now, I wake up early and run, explore the place when it’s fresh in the morning. Project 50 – my dream of running in 50 countries before I turn 50 – came to be when I went to Bhutan. For 12 days, I didn’t miss a single run in the morning.

“Then I visited Ladakh and adjusted my days according to the marathon there. The love for travelling was always there, but I didn’t really have a number to it at the time. I used to run the half marathons, as 21kms was my limit, so when I turned 25 in May, I decided why not run 25km on my birthday. I later thought it would be awesome to visit and run in 50 countries, by the time I turn 50. It is a little scary, but I am taking it one year at a time — 2017 is Greece and Sri Lanka, as the former was on my bucket list for a long time, and the best thing is that they have the Athens marathon around the time of my birthday. That doesn’t mean I am going to stop travelling within India – in February, I am going to Pondicherry, as well.

“I recently designed my custom NIKEiD running shoes, and I’ve decided to keep them for my Project 50 special runs. The reason why they’re white with a gold swoosh is because I like when things are pure and pristine. The sole retains the black which, to me, signifies that it’s okay to have imperfections. It says daydream under the tongue and quotes PRJ50 for Project 50.”


Inspired? What’s stopping you from getting out there and doing your thing? Start moving with the Nike + Running App or sign up for a weekly session here.

To keep up with Pooja’s inspiring journey, follow her on Instagram. You can create your own custom iDs at Nike.com.

*This is a dedicated post in collaboration with Nike.

Tatiana Dias

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