Now, why do people run for a cause?

A wonderful guest post on why people run for a cause by Mala Kumar of Pratham Books!

The kid who ran for a cause!

Why do people run for a cause? Sounds good to say you’re running for a cause, of course, but really, why do people do this? And how does it help a cause? A quiet and anonymous donation does benefit a charitable organization. On the other hand, saying that one is running to help raise funds not only benefits the organization monetarily, but the organization too gets to be known by a lot of people who may want to support it in many different ways. Runs lead to awareness. And so it was my pleasure to run for Akshara Foundation, to raise funds for its preschool programme.

Preparation for the run involved talking about it, posting my intent on Facebook, going easy on the fatty stuff, and imagining the wind on my face when I ran with all the awesome people of this wonderful city. The actual physical training for the race was not much. It helped that the marathon trainer Santosh Padmanabhan of Runner’s High gave us some interesting tips on running, one of which is that if you can walk and talk without much effort, then you’re good to jog.

And amazingly over 22,000 people came out to run at the TCS World 10K Marathon on May 19, 2013. The atmosphere at Sri Kanteerva Stadium was infectious – everyone smiled at each other, people waited long enough to read each others’ banners. Young and old, fit and fat, first-timers and veterans stepped out together to run with a common goal – that of hope. The high-octane music inside the stadium, the fever, the ooohhhs and aahhhs of runners around me who spotted either actor Rahul Bose, or brand ambassador Puneet Rajkumar, or Maria Mutola, three-time World Champion, the hoots, whistles, wise-cracks and the crowds – unforgettable!

 I had a great day too – also because I met a very smart young boy. Running alongside his father, we assumed that since children were not allowed to participate, he would have joined his father at Cubbon Park at some point. The father and son slowed down to a walking pace, to be in step with us. “Did you walk all along ?” we asked the little one with awe. “No!” he said and ran ahead. “Ah, thought so…too long for a little boy,” I said. “No, he meant he did not walk, he ran!” said the father.

Krishnan Chatterji, we could not find out your address, or the preschool you probably go to, but for me, you carried a message – that if one runs along with someone doing good, you do good too. And that’s why I chose to run with Akshara Foundation.