Last week was a busy one, and the weekend was even more packed with activity. So I haven't been checking the blogs I usually read, or been able to compose new posts ... will hopefully catch up on that soon.
Sunday, Feb 15th was the day of the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon. Our team from the Association for India's Development (AID) runs this race every year as a fundraiser. This year, seventeen of us participated - eleven volunteers ran the half marathon, and six ran the full.
Over the past few months, Saturday mornings have been exactly the same: wake up at 6am, get to Lady Bird Lake (see my post about the lake) by 7:00 or 7:30am, and run the prescribed distance for the week. Some days were beautiful, and running was a pleasure. Other days were cold, windy and miserable, and running was really painful. But it all paid off on Sunday, coz all of us had a good run.
R and I ran the half this year, since we had lots of injuries after running the full marathon last year. It was a perfect day on Sunday, partly cloudy and cool. The 13.1 miles seemed pretty easy after having done the 26.2 miles last year on Austin's hilly course.
Our bright yellow team t-shirts stand out in the crowd (I designed these last year).
This run is the biggest fundraiser for our volunteer group each year, and the training program is called Run for India. Runners raise money through their run, for supporting projects in rural India that are sustainable and holistic in their approach:
"AID is a volunteer movement committed to promoting sustainable, equitable and just development. In solidarity with non-violent people's struggles, AID supports grassroots organizations in India and initiates efforts in various interconnected spheres such as education, livelihoods, natural resources, health, women's empowerment and social justice."
The idea is to learn from our project partners on the ground, and have study groups where we try and understand the issues behind the realities that exist on the ground. As a result, we learn a tremendous amount from our NGO partners in India.
I coordinate two projects (with NGOs Kalpavriksh in Delhi, and Exnora Green Cross in Vellore), both of them related to environmental issues, since that is what interests me. I serve as the link between these two NGO partners and our group so that we can learn as much as possible about the issues - social, political and scientific, that relate to the projects that we support.
It is work that has taught me so much more than I have been able to contribute. Our group of runners are all volunteers - students as well as professionals. The energy and excitement in this group is awesome, and now that we have raised some money, it is time to invest it in some deserving projects on the ground in India!
Hope your week is going well.