BOSTON–There is a runner in everyone, just that some of them have not discovered it yet. This cliché may not always be true, but the idea persists that most people get into running as part of a sudden burst of inspiration.
Since 2003, Team AID Asha has expanded this idea into an ongoing program that has brought many people realize this dream helping them achieve what they may have considered improbable. The benefits getting into a running lifestyle are obvious – improving fitness levels, better outcomes for physical and mental wellbeing. However, by incorporating the idea that running can bring a change into the lives of people 8,000 miles away has been truly remarkable.
From fortuitous beginnings when Coach Jonathan Wyner was put in touch with 8 pioneer members of the program – Biju Kalissery and Parthiv Shah amongst others – Team AID Asha has helped train more than 300 runners.
Most of these have been first-timers bringing no prior running experience except their enthusiasm and their wish to make a difference. Fund raising efforts by runners have helped raise in excess of $800,000 to help support projects in India for Association for India’s Development (AID) and Asha for Education (Asha).
Both AID and Asha help some of the most marginalized communities in their effort to educate, improve health, provide sustainable development and promote grassroots activism for social justice.
Jonathan Wyner – the Coach, as he is most often referred to, conveniently – has run more than 25 full marathons. Running is something he truly believes in not only for himself but also to aid others to achieve the singular enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that training for a long-distance event can bring.
He has been certified as a coach by the Road Runners Club of America and all this while doing his day job owning his own recording studio and teaching music at Berklee college of music. He brings his wealth of experience and genuine love of running to every question put to him with equal and thoughtful consideration.
The alum runners help the program every year recruiting new runners, exhorting volunteers, encouraging efforts in training and fundraising and being available to answer any queries that runners may have through the year. A dedicated community of former runners and volunteers help co-ordinate water support for the training runs and also arranges for fund raising clinics, stretching clinics, nutrition awareness to help with the training program that runs the course from early spring through late fall.
The program’s achievement is not only limited to enabling previously sedentary lifestyles transform into running enthusiast but to bring awareness and helping bring relief and support to some of the most under privileged in India. The sense of achievement and accomplishment that allows this to develop into a community has been an outstanding feature of this program for 15 years, and going stronger.
For more information on joining for the new season, please visit https://www.teamaidasha.org/