The last time I ran, I missed the bus and it was a hot sweltering day in Madras and I was so angry that I threw my bag down along the side of the road, much to the complete shock of all who stood there watching the back of a well bent over PTC bus. My sister looked up at me, and also shocked but knowing better than to say anything to me, slinked silently off back to under the bus shelter.
This was 1986 and I was in high school at Good Shepherd and I rode, not one but two buses to get home from school. The public transport system. I started when I was in 2nd grade and so I was a veteran by then, like many others. I knew exactly when a particular bus would come through, where each driver would stop (obviously not at the stop, but anywhere within 200 yards of it, some even half a kilometer away) and how best to elbow your way through some very stubborn women or what was the best sad face I could make to get some nice old men to allow me in. Yep, I knew it all, and that is why it completely annoyed the heck outa me that I RAN and yet missed the bus.
So yes, that was the last I ran.
I don’t fancy running very much. Never did. I secretly chuckled watching runners. Really guys? Running? I mean kids run.
Bad guys run from cops.
Runaway brides in the movies run, while the guys watch in amazement on the speeds they could muster with all that extra jewelry on them!
Actress Suhasini (Huge fan long ago) runs in one of my favorite songs ever!
Then I moved to the US and was forced to become an adult who is also forced to consider that exercise is a necessary evil (once we pack in the extra 10 pounds at the immigration that is) and there are enough crazy people who run, swelter and sweat and grin through all that running and feel awesome at the end of it all.
Then the daughter does the unthinkable and joins her high school track!
I gave up.
I grudgingly started accepting that maybe, just maybe there is something this running does after all.
Then I heard about organized runs.
Then I heard about Asha Jyothi.
Then I met the ladies behind it.
Yep, not exaggerating, and no, I didnt wear pigtails when I went that way, but rest assured the group’s pretty short of amazing.
So, this is where we are.
Asha Jyothi is an organization run by a whole LOT of volunteers. The ones who started it off are a group of 4 ladies with some strong determination and passion to scale this initiative and reach a little more every time. They sponsor education-related projects, back folks who approach them to raise funds. Focusing mainly on Healthcare and Education, they support organizations for the under privileged while empowering them via knowledge and education and by providing basic healthcare. Here is a comprehensive FAQ to learn more on the details of their operation, that is most definitely beyond the scope of this post.
However, I do want to gently lead you back to the running. Yep. So, every Fall, since 2009, they have organized a 5K in Northern VA (20 miles south of Washington DC) and it’s quickly becoming the talk of the town, and not just in the Indian-American community. Washington Post had recently rated it as one of the best 5K run/walk in the area! Fully supported, this is a run organized in Fairfax, VA (Fairfax Corner area to be precise) on Sunday, September 20 2015 at 8.30 am. Check out the details here.
Friends who have participated have always spoken highly of it with respect to the manpower, the vibes, the excitement surrounding the area. Every year, the numbers have only increased, garnering more runners from different walks of life (regardless of age, agility and community) and the sponsors have thronged to support a worthy organization doing commendable work.
Every year, they have added on another venue in another city in the US, and now boast of SIX different cities that will be hosting a 5K under the Asha Jyothi umbrella.
- September 20th will have not one but FOUR 5K runs:
Fairfax VA, Cary NC, Dallas TX and Piscataway NJ
- September 27th sees Fremont CA running the 5K
- October 3rd will have the folks of Kansas City, MO participating in the 5K
So all you runners out there, if you would like to just sprint or do your practice run and feel like you could probably contribute towards a larger unit, then come on over and register yourself, and be part of AJ!
Oh, if you are not able to run that day or are not able to participate, but would like to show your support, then just run, take a pic, Hashtag it #AJ5K and post a pic here! (clever innit? Now you try and escape this one missy!)
Oh, you had a question?
Me you ask?
What about me exactly?
Am I going to be running?
Oh wait, you were serious!
HMM.. OK! no sir, no, I don’t run.
Er, what do you mean I shouldn’t be writing if I don’t run?
Well, sir, let me ask you this. Did you cook the food you ate this evening? No? Well then why are you eating it?
Yes sir, Of course you understand!
In case you were itching to know, I cycle sir. Yes, the good old bicycle? Yep, that one.
One day Asha Jyothi will host a bicycle event and we all know who will go cuckoo on that one! Just don’t tell them I predicted the future ok? They just really nice, busy folks doing their thing with these 5Ks!
In all seriousness though, I admire runners. My best friend runs, my good friends run, my husband runs, my daughter runs, my son runs and my adorable dog Zephie runs. She runs like the wind, yes she does.
So, you see, am a huge supporter of this running business. 😉
All jokes apart, get out there, walk, run or do whatever. It’s your body that will thank you, coz your heart felt strong and healthy, coz your soul did something good, not just for yourself, but that your simple act touched someone far far away. It’s all you! Really.
Yes, I’ll be there, NOT running (bad knees, long story), but I’ll cheer ya! That’s a promise! 🙂
PS: In case you wondering why Asha Jyothi is all familiar, well, they are supporting the cause that I am driving: The Sari for Education one. Yay!