Friday, January 23, 2009

A Peek at our Team Asha Runners 2008-09 - Part 1

This year, for the first time ever, we have 56 runners, as young as 10 years-old to over 50+ years, and one of the most diverse groups we've had in Asha since its inception. So who are the amazing runners that make up the formidable force known as Team Asha?

In the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at each of the runners in our mentorship groups to learn a little bit more about who they are and what inspires them to serving underprivileged children by raising funds through running.

Mentorship Group: Akshay Prabhu, Arvind Viswanath, Bradford Hardie, Elango Rajagopal, Halley Claire Bass, Lakshmi Rao, Sharanya Rao (mentor), Stephanie Hagemeister & Stephanie Redding.

Akshay Prabhu has been a gungo-ho runner and volunteer from Day 1. He signed on without hesitation, trained regularly with Rogue for his half-marathon, volunteered for Asha's Show of Hope, was the successful bidder of the portrait auction (which proceeds went to Asha) and one of the winners of the Half-Bingo! An enthusiastic volunteer, Akshay woke up at 600am to help out the Decker Challenge. After making such a positive impact in Asha, he will no doubt power his way through the Austin Half-Marathon!

Arvind Viswanath is the classic strong-and-silent type! :) An Asha volunteer and Team Asha runner for 3 years, a past Asha Austin Chapter coordinator and present co-steward of Shrist Special Academy and Asha Samajik Vidyalaya, Arvind strongly believes in Asha's cause. He has completed his past two half-marathons in under 2 hours. He will blaze through his target race, the 3M Half-Marathon – humbly, quietly, swiftly.

Bradford Hardie is man of many talents. Bradford is a keen artist (check out his cheering poster) and an upcoming musician (guitar & vocalist). Although a newcomer to long-distance racing, Bradford had no trouble completing his first ever half-marathon, the San Antonio Rock-N-Roll in 2 hours 4minutes with just 2 months of training! He also actively fundraised and was one of the first to finish his fundraising commitment – and then went for more! There's no stopping him – at racing or fundraising! :)

Elango Rajagopal has had many interesting past lives – including being a former owner of a popular restaurant in Austin! A dedicated family man and proud daddy of two children, Raj juggles his time well – between training, working and spending time with family. Enthusiastic and cheerful, Raj is always seen with a big smile on his face. Raj completed his first race, the IBM 10K, in a fantastic time and was cheered on by his young children, who will no doubt grow up to follow their role model – who is an excellent example of dedication and commitment! We wish him all the best for his target race, the Austin Half-Marathon.

Halley Bass is a newbie to Austin from chilly Chicago. Even before moving to Austin, Halley signed up with Team Asha because of her passion to make a difference to the children from India, a place she grew to love after visiting over the holidays. Her commitment, enthusiasm and free-spirit have not only spurred her to train strongly and consistently, but she has become a regular attendee of Asha meetings and volunteered for Asha's Show of Hope program. She will be running her first-ever half-marathon on her birthday at the 3M Half-Marathon!

Lakshmi Rao is a Team Asha runner whose desire to make a difference is so strong, that she chose to sign up to run for Asha and trained remotely from St. Louis, Missouri! A doctor by training and presently a post-graduate student, this determined young lady took on the challenges of training alone and in the snowy winter of St Louis because she was motivated by Asha's cause. Training has not been easy to juggle with the harsh mid-west winter or the demands of her graduate program, but Lakshmi has not once looked back. She will be doing her first-ever half-marathon at the Austin Half-Marathon.

Stephanie Hagemeister is a bubbly, enthusiastic newbie triathlete and long-distance runner who was motivated to join Team Asha by her buddy, Stephanie Redding (more on the latter in a bit). At the end of tri-training season, Stephanie was inspired to join Team Asha after one of the ramp-up runs that she tried out, and cheerfully took on half-marathon training for a good cause. A strong and committed runner, Stephanie had little trouble with the training in spite of all that was on her plate. She plans to run both 3M Half-Marathon and the Austin Half-Marathon.

Stephanie Redding is the epitome of optimism. If you're having a bad day, spending 10mins with Stephanie will lift your spirits (and make you want to sign up for the next race). Her enthusiasm for running, triathlons and life, in general is only matched by her commitment to do good – to each and every person around her. As a returning Asha runner, Stephanie not only joined this season as runner but also as a Strides of Hope crew member, and additionally, brought on board her buddy and partner. Stephanie and Bradford have been a formidable fundraising force. In spite of injuries, Stephanie refused to let her spirits be dampened and is well-poised to set a new PR for her target race – the 3M half-marathon!

Stay tuned for the next Team Asha mentorship group!


Lakshmi Yaddanapudi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lakshmi Yaddanapudi said...

Hey Sha!
Nice profile line up for all your mentees ;-)
Really nice of you to put this up, gives us all a chance to get to know each other better. It would be good if all the mentor groups did this, would help a lot to know my team, esp for me, staying far off!
And this gives me an idea for my next blogpost on this, to write about what we like best about our mentors and how they have guided you through the training.. I'll have a whole lot to write on u and ganesh :-)

Sharanya said...

hey Lakshmi, yes, that's the plan! We started our series of profiles last week, so look out for more in the next coming weeks. :)