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Sunnyvale tech consultant braves the Boston Marathon for charity
Media Organization:San Jose Mercury News
Date of Publication:Friday, April 20, 2012
By Alia Wilson | Read it on the San Jose Mercury News website
Raghav Raghavacharya of Sunnyvale, Calif.
While runners dropped like flies as heat warnings intensified for the Boston Marathon on April 16, Sunnyvale resident Raghav Raghavacharya stood his ground, finishing with a time of 4:39:14.
It was the second time the veteran marathon runner participated in the race, driven by the desire to raise money for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights organization based in Cambridge, Mass. He's competed in the event five times.
Knowing the historic course paid off for him, as he fought his way through tens of thousands of runners in the record-breaking heat.
"Usually, they never defer entries to a future year, so it was interesting so many applicants chose to," Raghavacharya said. "I was deliberating all weekend whether I should, but when I thought of all the people behind the cause, I knew I should keep going forward."
Since 1940, UUSC has worked to defend civil liberties and democratic processes, promote workers' rights and fair wages, and preserve human rights during disasters.
"I have often thought that our members and supporters such as Raghav are our most valuable assets, our moral drivers that enable us to fulfill our mission to advance human rights and social justice around the world," said Dick Campbell, UUSC senior associate for media and public affairs. "UUSC is a relatively small international human rights organization, and supporters such as Raghav enable us to multiply our impact and influence for positive social change."
Raghavacharya, 40, said he began long-distance running about eight years ago and runs in several marathons and other races in the United States and his native India. The tech consultant's best running time came in the 2008 Chicago Marathon at slightly over three hours. He completed last year's Boston Marathon in 3:34:07.
He said running is a relaxing way to maintain a high level of physical fitness, and at the same time allows him to raise money for worthwhile causes.
"Working for a cause is always a great thing, but you are also working alongside a lot more people who have been there, done that," Raghavacharya said. "Just being a part of that kindred community, for someone who didn't have very many friends and was a homebody, really helps build a person's self-confidence."
Raghavacharya credited his coach, Tony Fong, who has been running for more than 35 years and completed his 100th marathon in 2011.
Prior to fundraising for UUSC, Raghavacharya used to raise money for a secular organization called Asha for Education, which focuses on basic education of underprivileged children in India. He received marathon training through the organization and hopes to set up a similar program through UUSC.
Raghav Raghavacharya is still working toward a fundraising goal of $2,000 for UUSC. Contributions can be made until May 1, 2012.