Running for others’ life

15-year-old Sasidhar has so far run 10 marathons for different causes

He walked quietly towards the table and leaning on it, stood folding his arms. A shy 15-year-old boy, S. Sasidhar, clad in a pink T-shirt and blue trousers, he seldom responds to questions, only letting out a few words between long pauses.

This willowy teenager with long arms and legs gives no break when he begins to run.

A natural athlete, as his sports trainer Amarnath Veeravel describes, Sasidhar recently set on a trail covering a distance of 610 km over a period of six days from the seashores of Puducherry to Kanniyakumari. Covering an average distance of 100 km per day, he ran this marathon to create awareness against committing suicide.

Natural athlete

Sasidhar was brought to Baby Sarah’s Home, an inclusive care home for children with multiple disabilities and orphaned children, in 2010 after his father’s death. His mother, a daily wage labourer, works in the hospitality sector in Puducherry.

It was J. Stephen Raj, secretary, Baby Sarah’s Home. who identified the natural athlete in him. “We were finding it difficult to manage adolescents here. We tried different things initially, calling in counsellors and engaging them in different activities. Later, we decided to seek help from a sports trainer who would also be a life skill and value educator. All the children were given different sports activities and it was during this period they began to calm down and focus on productive work,” he said.

He added: “During one of such sports events we saw Sasidhar running. He was not fast, did not sweat, was not struggling for breath but ran without any effort for two hours. At that moment, it occurred to us that he could be an integral part of the project ‘Run for’. Beginning in June last year, he has run 10 marathons for different causes.”

Sasidhar’s first marathon was for Green in June 2017. In that event, at least seven athletes ran from Besant Nagar in Chennai to Puducherry beach. “He covered a distance of 32 km on his first marathon,” said Mr.Raj.

Later, he was one among the 9 participants in a marathon for parents and teachers creating awareness on blue whale game and part of a marathon for child rights last year. “I stop at different points where I distribute pamphlets and create awareness on different issues,” he said.

Mr. Raj added: “Since his strength is not in speaking, we take the help of students, volunteers and NGOs who spread awareness on the cause we have taken up.”

A student of Joevi English High School, Sasidhar plans to participate in a marathon organised by TCS in Bengaluru and even travel to Goa to participate in the run to create awareness on World Autism Day.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:59:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/running-for-others-life/article23437026.ece

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