Monday, February 19, 2007

Team Asha Rocks Austin! - Part II

Hi All,

Here is the second one! I have also added some important race day info that you need to keep track of.

I . Team Asha's Heroes
II. Phone Call to Siddamma
III. Inspiration that humbles
IV. Race Day Info

I. Team Asha's Heroes

Disclaimer: This effort is purely to introduce each runner to the Team and give a glimpse of their efforts. It might not bring forth all their sacrifices, troubles and splendid efforts.

Chandramouli Narayanaswami
Chandar's tryst with running started when he came cheering for the Team Asha's first year. He is a natural runner and did amazingly well right from the start. He liked to run races that raised funds for the underrivileged. His die-hard spirit and determination is sometimes astounding. His training didn't go too well, when he faced an injury at his peak. He was forced to take time off, but knowing his ability to bounce back, it would be no surprise to see him fly through the finish!

Charanya Ravikumar
Charanya works for dell, volunteers for Pratham, Austin Tamil Sangham, Omkara ..and I am not sure if there is an end to the list! Amazingly with all the juggling around of roles, she still managed to attend training regularly. What was even more surprising was that Charanya and Gayathri reached their fundraising target in just a few days after they started !! She seems to be setting an example for every aspect of the program!

Chirag Gandhi
One of the younger runners in the team. Enthusiastic and regular, he keeps the spirits alive wherever he is! His training has been progressing well and he did an excellent job of handling himself well through the training - i.e. not overtraining, going out too fast etc. He is always there to lend a helping hand to the team. For those of you who don't know, he did a half marathon at the surfside beach last weekend and looks like he is hungry for more!

Dhanashri Garud
Dhanashri is one of the earliest registrants for this year's program. She was really regular from the start (including the ramp up run) until she had to face the 'hip' injury. Then came the long India break and major happenings in life :). All the crazy schedules and injury did take a heavy toll on the training and she was forced to drop out this year. But, given her resilience we can surely expect to see her back again in full flow next year!

Divya Padmanabhan
Well everyone in rogue know her as the 'Girl who twisted her ankle'. On a dreadful trail run, she went down very early in the training program. But, she handled it real well and rested it enough to come back from injury in amazing form! She is again one of the more improved runners in the team. While, she is not saving $$ for AMD by fixing critical bugs or not running, she also volunteers time for Asha and other local community outreach efforts.

Dwarak Rajagopal
Dwarak is a regular in the gym and running was a new passion. He went through Team Asha's ramp up program, was regular in training and probably lost track during the holidays. Balancing a demanding work schedule, injuries and doctor visits takes a lot of effort. He has weathered through all these storms to stand strong at the start line. His enthusiasm, ready smile and helping nature makes him quite popular in the team!

Gayathri Bhandarkar
Dedication, committment and planning - She had all that and more! It was truly amazing as she kept on training regularly and knocked off long runs one after the other. The fundraising efforts deserve a special accolade! Balancing tough work schedules at AMD, she always did find time for the team and was prompt in responding to calls for help/information. Gayathri and Charanya are already planning on triathlons - well we all know that this duo will surely beat the odds in anything!

Itisha Tyagi
She is Team Asha's inspiration! The only girl from our team who trained for the marathon. She was dedicated and very regular in her training, yet the element of luck had the last say with her injury during the last stages. She felt so bad when she heard from the 'doc'/'coach'/'physio' that a full marathon was not going to be possible and she had to drop to a half. She is a hero and on Sunday she will remind us of what 'courage' is. There is no reason to feel bad, rather through this process she has inspired the team and the ultimate goal has already been reached!

Jinesh Karia
Jinesh almost bagged the prize for being the most regular from the ramp up program through the training. But, his marriage spoilt the track record :) Seriously, his commitment to the schedule helped him a lot and he is one of the more improved runners in the group. The last few weeks in India have been hectic for him and what did he do within a few hours after arriving at Austin ? Ya..he went out on a run! Watch out for jinesh as he puts in a wonderful effort on Sunday. A few records might fall!

Mahesh Subramony
He seems to radiate enthusiasm wherever he is! Behind all that constant entertainment lies a very serious effort that deserves special mention. Mahesh had health problems that stopped him from training full fledged from September. He started training only days before the Motive half. Yet, he walked, ran and trained through half marathons, runs in beaches of kerala and made it to the start line fit and strong. He ran a half marathon last weekend at 'Surfside' beach and he has more planned - simple things like back-to-back half marathons! He inspires us all with a truly amazing effort!

Go Team Asha!

II. Phone Call to Siddamma

Have you wondered how Asha Austin volunteers keep in touch with the efforts in India ? Obviously, we can't get a site visit done every month! So, we do tele-conferences and minutes of all calls are recorded on the project website - infact every correspondence and information regarding the project is recorded.

Sanjeev, long time Asha Austin volunteer co-ordinates the fellowship for Siddamma -

Here is minutes of a phone call made in May 2006 by him -

III. Inspiration that humbles

We talk about athletes who inspire us. We talk about amazing feats driven by respect to humanity. Yet, there are some other stories that just leave you spellbound, makes you question what you do - yet, spurs you on to do whatever little you can do are just willing to do...

Here are the inspiring stories of people we are close to, about lives dedicated to service ..

(Note: Each of these efforts are supported by Asha)

The story of Siddamma -
(Written by Sanjeev Ranganathan - its the spotlight on our newsletter)

The story of Stanley and Parashu -

The story of Vandana and Vaishnavi -

The story of Nandlal -

IV. Race Day Info

Packet Pick-up: Friday 3-8 P.M, Saturday - 10 AM - 6 PM.

Please do remember to do it. DO NOT plan to pick it up race day morning - there are going to be thousands of runners and it gets crazy. You will also miss the wonderful expo! Its an experience on its own.

(PS: ONLY ppl in the north who find it too difficult to drive down, let your friends know or give Santhosh (512-431-5105) a call to pick it up for you)

Asha Tent: There will be a big Asha Tent between Congress and Brazos on 2nd Street. We will all meet there before and after the race. The tent will be open from 5 AM till everyone gets done. Please do plan to be there by 6:00 AM. DO NOT drop off bags at the tent. Instead, make use of the race organizer's drop off - its safer and less troublesome for everyone.

(For Team Asha)

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