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Run For A Cause

Running In Support of Vibha

Over 200 Runners Toe the Line in Support of India’s Children at the Vibha DC Dream Mile 2010.

By Alix Shutello

On Sunday, I stood at the starting line of a local 5k race in Reston, Virginia. This race was going to be a training run for me, but also one where I was going to run for a cause.  I chose to run for Vidha for several reasons. First, I have colleagues in India who I respect; second I am aware of the poverty there and will admit that I did see Slumdog Millionaire and the movie affected me even though I knew about the slums, the poverty, and children who “prepared” for a life of slavery. This event raised over $7,000 for less advantaged children in India, and I was proud to have been a part of it.

Near the Starting Line

Race Organizer Lauren Decot talks to reporters

The day before the race, I went to Road Runner Sports in Falls Church, VA, to pick up my race number, and there, handling the registrations was the race organizer and volunteer for Vibha, Lauren Decot.

When the race started, runners ran around a corporate office building before running on a short dirt path to the Washington, DC network of trails called WO&D.  We ran down the paved path a few hundred yards before turning right to run around a residential man-made lake.  Runners and walkers circled the lake and jumped back on to the WO&D trail to run over the Dulles Tollway and into the woods, where we ran single file through a small maze of paved forest trails.

Given the humidity, I was thankful it was overcast. I don’t do well running in the summer heat, and was discouraged that some people were passing me but I had to remind myself this was a training run. I was not to be racing full tilt. This race was to be a 3 mile tempo run and I kept my pace steady and as I entered the last mile. Then, I tried to increase my pace slightly.

The most difficult part of the race was returning to the bridge over the Dulles Tollway. I’ve run over that bridge before and the ascent to the crest of the bridge is steep and certainly unwelcome when you are tired and hot. I didn’t realize that after the bridge it was a short half-mile or so to the end. In fact I had no idea I was at the end until someone passed me and I realized, since I knew where this runner was in the pack, that she was simply accelerating to the end. I kind of woke up that point and pushed it through…little did I know that I had just won in my age group!

After the race I planned to stay long enough and eat some food, but the downpour that began shortly after the final racers crossed the finish line and after many of us had downed their bagels, powers bars, and bananas kept us under the picnic awning. It wasn’t just a regular downpour either. It was one of those torrential rain events that soaked you to the bone the minute you stepped foot in it. It would be almost a half hour later that the rain would lighten up. So I approached Lauren about interviewing her for Running Illustrated (interview to come soon).  I also just so happened to be standing by the race director as he was tabulating the results. I looked down and noticed that in my age category he had written my name in first place. I was so proud of myself. Who knew my little training run would be rewarded with a gift certificate to Road Runner Sports!

To read more about Vidha, go to dc.vibha.org and read my interview with race organizer, Lauren Decot at Runners Illustrated.

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