Bangalore: People in Bangalore have found a new way to raise funds to help educate poor children and in the process, stay fit too.
Starting from 5 P.M. on Friday, groups of people will run or cycle to raise at least Rs.200,000 to fund an NGO to educate poor children.
"Someone or some group will be running or cycling from 5 P.M. on January 21 to 5 P.M. on January 23 in Bangalore. One group will be cycling to Hyderabad, about 560 km away," said Kavitha Kanaparthi, one of the organisers.
Called Strides of Hope, this initiative to help NGO Asha-Bangalore, is also intended to encourage Bangaloreans to take up a healthy and environment-friendly lifestyle, she said.
"This is also an effort to raise awareness about education for the underprivileged children in India," said Kavitha, who describes herself as a full-time endurance athlete and owns 'Globeracers', a professional running organisation.
Asha-Bangalore said that it "supports education of underprivileged children and initiatives that help empower communities as a whole".
The NGO currently supports six projects in India and raises funds through marathon programmes, monthly donations and calendar sales.
Other organisers of the event include 'Runner's High', which provides coaching and training for the runners, 'Runners for Life', a recreation company, 'Contours International' that helps women to stay fit.
The event is being organised for the second time. Last year, about 350 people took part, together logging 3,000 km.
"This time, we target 1,500 participants and 15,000-plus km."
Kavitha added that two or three people are looking to run or walk for all the 48 hours.
"Many people will start cycling to Hyderabad but around 10 will continue all the way to the city. Others will return to Bangalore after riding a distance they are comfortable with."
"If you are a group of 10 or more runners or riders you can run/ride at your own location. For example, employees of a company can get together and run around their office, children from a school could run in their campus," said Kavitha.
On the number of Bangaloreans who have taken to running, she said, "Bangalore is known to be one of the most active cities in the country."
The organisers have plans to "educate" the city vehicle drivers too for they are considered notorious by cyclists and pedestrians.
Asked how they intended to make vehicle drivers behave, Kavitha said, "We, cyclists, have been working with police to create awareness, conduct classes and create ads for this purpose."
On plans for a sustained campaign for a dedicated cycle lane here, she said, "It's being done by the cycling community. We have faced many life threatening situations while cycling, and I, too, have been in accidents, coming close to death situations."