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They're running - for somebody else's life

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February 12, 2004
Times News Network

Nachiket Mor, Executive Director, ICICI, had planned to run the Mumbai International Marathon for fitness. "I realised that I was on the wrong side of 40 and hadn't spent enough time keeping fit," he admits.

Another reason for participating was to "do something beyond the regular life." "We are just so caught up with our lives that few people in this country get involved with charity. Running in the marathon is my way of publicly demonstrating my support for Vatsalya, a Bangalore-based NGO helping orphans find homes," he says.

As soon as he had decided on the charity, Mor wrote to friends and colleagues across the world. "In less than an hour, I had people pledging money. There are 25 people who have pledged close to three lakhs." Roping in sponsors hasn't taken away the fun from running for Mor. "Why should it?" he asks. "I am committed to complete the 7 km Dreamrun. Having sponsors has added spice to the marathon. I will now have to give it my 400 percent."

Meet Dharmesh Valera (28) who wants to participate in the marathon, despite having a crack in the left ankle, for the Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Cancer Society. Valera is not a corporate guy who can generate huge amounts. But his efforts have generated Rs 5,070. An accountant with an NGO, Give Foundation, Valera approached his canteen suppliers and colleagues for this purpose.

For Peter Theobald (37), a software businessman, Sunday's international marathon began as an opportunity to lose weight, and also turned out to be a way to raise funds for charity. He has managed to generate pledges to the tune of over Rs 60,000 in just three days. A resident of Altamount Road, Peter alongwith his 61-year-old mother Vasanta, are planning to run the half-marathon (21 km).

"I was extremely over-weight (96 kg) in 1996. With diet control and exercise, I lost 30 kg. However, from 2002, I gained 10 kg again," says Peter. Then the marathon became a trigger to fitness again. Peter is focussing on three NGOs - Kshitij (working for mentally challenged adults), Shanti Avedana Ashram (hospice for terminally ill cancer patients) and Sanjivani (providing assistance for medical, education, food).

"I sent out e-mails on Friday night," he says. "By Saturday morning I had pledges worth Rs 10,000. and by Monday evening I got Rs 60,000." Vasanta says, "I am a yoga teacher and I go for a long walk every Sunday."

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