Analog Devices India runs for Akshara Foundation at the TCS W10K


 The Runners from Analog Devices India, were an awesome bunch of highly energetic people who ran for Akshara. While most of them were first timers, they all conquered the 10kms within the stipulated time. The inspiration, the music and the dhols kept them going! Sridevi Warrier, Garima Bansal,Himanshu Srivastava, Manu Nair and Dhirendra Tiwari share their experiences.

The energetic Analog Devices India Runners Team
Sridevi Warrier says “Out of 25 who registered for the TCS10K, 23 participated in the race. For most of us it was the first time and all of us finished the race well below 100 minutes target time. Those who have participated in earlier runs clocked their best timings at this year’s event. The crowd and energy at the event was unbelievable. You have to be there to feel it. We hope for many more participants in the coming years”.

Himanshu Srivastava, who participated for the first time says:
Any kind of athletic event attracts you to participate in it and when it gets combined with the charity, it almost become impossible to give it a miss. So when ADI collaborated with the Akshara for this year’s TCS world 10K event, I gave my name as soon as I read the information mail.

This being my first 10K run, I knew that I had to practice a lot. I started with small runs like 2-3K and then increased it to 5-6K. A week before the actual run, I did my longest (and last) practice session, that being 9K.I was bit nervous before the event because practice had made me realized that 10K is lot tougher than the 5K run but then this is how we can test ourselves.

The race day environment was just electric. Seeing the elite athletes flying towards the finish line gave the required motivation. And then finally our race started. First half of the race was more or less smooth. As it became little tougher, the other participants kept cheering each other to keep running till the end point. Finally I finished it in 71 minutes, not a great timing as such but good enough for first timer. The experience of running with more than 10K people was worth the effort. Other than the actual run, the cause people were running for were really superb. The best message I read on someone’s t shirt was “Don’t let your maid’s daughter become your daughter’s maid”

  Manu Nair who also ran last year says “TCS 10k 2013 was my best run so far. It was my second TCS 10k run and like last year, the best part of the run was the crowd. It was so colourful, noisy and happy that I could not help but smile stupidly for most of the race. Drummers, dancers, celebrity look-alikes, and music simply made me forget that my legs would really really like a break. Even the sun who has been particularly horrible this summer decided to give Bangalore a break, hiding behind the clouds for most of the run.   I even managed to grab some eyeballs because of the Akshara T-shirt I was wearing. I was “almost” interviewed by a TV reporter who was interested in my T-Shirt! Unfortunately the
Interviewer lady got a call and she probably forgot I was waiting. So it never was actually aired”.

 Garima Bansal, who ran her first long distance run by participating in  TCS world 10K Majja  says “This run was my first long distance run and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 5.7 km seemed to be a tough task in the beginning but being amid an overwhelming crowd made things easy and fun.  It was a pleasure meeting Arvind, Megha and all other Akshara enthusiasts and get insights of Akshara Foundation.  It certainly was very motivating to see Akshara coming up with solutions to fight the root problem of India – Education. I am looking forward to be of some help in fighting for similar cause and also of course the next 10k run.”

 Dheerendra Tiwari shares his experience “It was my first time running 10 kms which by my standards is quite an achievement. I was never sure that I will be able to run and finish the distance but still held on to the thought of participating and I feel really good that I did. On the race day I was fascinated to see people gather in such large numbers, all enthusiastic and enjoying but still I was wary of the distance that I had to cover as I had never managed to do so in several trial runs. Then it began and a surprise was waiting just at the start point.

 It had been a long time since I had heard some good Punjabi ‘dhol’ and that was when my attention drifted from consciously running to just enjoying the scene. I saw people cheering all around and the runners showing dance moves on music that was there all the way long. Throughout the run people kept on motivating runners, who might have stopped if not for the cheer and I wondered what is driving them to shout and clap and cheer everyone they can, for hours. I had heard about collective conscious of masses as if all the emotions and thoughts of a mass form a big pool but this was the day I realized what it is. It was the one that made people cheer, run and dance all along  and it was indeed that drove me to the finish line quite surprised and happy in the end. And the cherry on the cake, it was all done not just for fun but for a good cause as well”!

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.

And we blazed the run in Red at the TCS W10K!


The Akshara team!
Three months ago when we first decided to run the TCS W10K, we were skeptical about a lot of things. However, we decided to brush our skepticism aside and work our way out. We chose to highlight our    pre-school programme, since this one needed more attention and awareness. There were plenty of things to do and we started off by structuring our work by making lists of things to do. The next task was to urge people to run and donate for our cause.

Though the task was a massive one, it definitely wasn’t an impossible one. So we began our work by sending out mailers to everyone informing people about the run. The next thing on the to-do list was to make snazzy posters. We got lucky and found a volunteer from Delhi who happily made the posters for us. The olive green and the yellow poster did stand out and make an impact.

While we were gathering the runners we also wanted to make sure we stood out of the crowd. We had no intentions of merging with the crowd this year unlike last year and so this year we chose a blazing red colour for our t-shirts. What made the T-shirt even better was this awesome design depicting Pre-schools by our very own Megha Vishwanath who is a techie and an awesome painter all at the same time.

Soon we moved to the next task of getting more runners.  In the end, we had a strong contingent of 69 runners, with 36 of them doing the 10kms and the remaining 33 of them participating in the 5.7kms Majja run.Coaxing people to run is not easy, and getting people to run for a cause is a much more difficult a task. But nevertheless, we managed to get runners.  Akshara’s very own Care Champion Gautam John was game for a 10k run again this year.

Our corporate sponsors Analog Devices India helped us not just raise money but also run for us. A mighty team of 20 members chose to run donning the Akshara T-shirt.  The best part about the runners from Analog Devices India was that all 20 of them chose to run the 10k. While most of them were first timers, they were all pumped up to run.  At the end of the race, all of them wore a happy smile irrespective of how much their bones and muscles hurt.
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19th May 2013, a cloudy morning the Akshara team gathered at the Gate A of the Shree Kanteerva Stadium. The 10kms open run began at dot 7.22am. While some were first timers, others were seasoned runners, yet all of them had just one thing on their mind and that was to finish the run no matter what. We all looked a dapper in our blazing red Akshara t-shirts. Armed with our running bibs, placards and kits we were all ready to get started.  While the 10k runners began their run before us, the 5.7kms run was mostly a jolly fun run and hence aptly named the Majja run!

Finally at 8.30am, we moved to towards the stadium with hooting, whistling and lots of noise. It was a sea of people there, all running for a cause.  This time we surely stood apart from most others as we blazed the run route in our bright red t-shirts which talked about pre-school education. Since our crusade this year was to promote pre-school education, we made placards themed around pre-schools and its importance.

On the way we were greeted by a lot of supporters who cheered and clapped for us. That was truly encouraging.  And post the run, there was a nice good breakfast which made the run worthwhile. So, all in all, it was a fun experience with everyone pitching in to do their best.

The run was more than just a run for us. It was our chance to get people’s attention towards our cause. As we ran the course, we knew that our bit was going to be a big help to those little kiddies who are deprived of quality education and basic facilities.

The run was surely a memorable experience for all and we hope that it will help us push our crusade and get help in the form of donations and volunteers. We at Akshara thank each and everyone who helped us put this event together. . A heart-felt thanks to all our donors for helping us raise 6.65 lakhs so far. It’s been an adventurous bumpy ride, but yes a great learning experience too.

The TCS W10K Run is back! Are you ready to Run?


The Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Run 2013 is back and Bangalore is getting ready to run again. The race has been accorded the IAAF Gold Label Road Race status, the highest rating for road races from the IAAF. The run starts and ends at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The competition was first held in 2008 and this year will take place on the 19th May 2013.

Akshara Foundation participated in the 10K run last year and we are all set to run again this year. So join us and help us promote the importance of Pre-school education in Government Anganwadis. Donate, fundraise or simply run for us and help make a difference in your own little way.  Funds collected through the Run will be used to improvise pre-school programmes in Bangalore and Dharwad, impacting over 25,000 children.

A good pre-school and primary education is the foundation to a stronger education and learning. Help us in our crusade to educate children with concepts and techniques which will help them learn for a lifetime and not just for the exams. Help these kids realize their dreams with a good education. Help us run this cause !

So will you support Akshara in this cause?

To Run / Donate / Raise funds for Akshara Foundation through the TCS W10K Run 2013, write to us at volunteer@akshara.org.in