New York:Thousands of athletes from across the globe gathered in NY on Sunday for the world famous 36th annual New York City Marathon. Of them, over 40 Indians ran the exhilarating race to raise over $80,000 for a cause -socio-economic change in India through education of children. 28-year-old Gargi Palchaudhuri's training for Sunday's marathon included long runs in Central park and also collecting over $5,000 dollars or Rs 3 lakh from friends, family and colleagues. This is the money that will go towards educating underprivileged children in India. Gargi, a trader on Wall street was one of over 40 Indian New Yorkers who raised funds while running 26 .2 miles as part of the International non-profit group-Asha's marathon training program. Novel concept The fund raising concept is novel. The runners most of them first timers get the team support and training needed to prepare for the marathon. In return, they raise money for Asha. "We expect each runner to collect $100 for every mile they run and since a marathon is 26.2 miles, we expect to raise $2,600 from every runner," said Ketul Patel, Asha for Education. Since its inception in 2001 with just five runners, the program has grown in leaps and bounds. In the 2006 marathon, 45 runners from the New York /New Jersey chapter of Asha ran, raising over $80,000. "I just realized that it's not that I do that much for children in India. I don't do any thing for children in India, for poor people, for any one and this is one way that I can," said Gargi. Grueling race At every step of the grueling race, 'Team Asha' was cheered on by other members of the organisation. "I think the fact that they are running to raise money for children in their country gives them a little bit more incentive to try a little harder. "When the last mile of the marathon comes, it gives them an extra push," said Jane Gellham, Coach, Team Asha, NY/NJ Chapter. They are making a name for themselves on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. But even as they are chasing the American dream, they are not out of step with India.
Topics : Athletics