Corporates tryst with terra firma

Mumbai, Jan 20 | Updated: Jan 21 2007, 07:59am hrs
There is a nip in the air and the last thing that anyone would want to do is stir out early on a Sunday morning. But some corporates in Mumbai have decided to forgo their Sunday sleep and run for a cause. Thats Mumbai for you, city with a heart and citizens with a soul.

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2007 will see 80 leading companies with 127 teams running in the GiveIndia Corporate Challenge. The teams of 30 employees each will make a contribution of Rs 1.5 lakh per team. The total contributions will run up to close to Rs 2 crore for charity. In addition to the company contribution, GiveIndia has asked employees who are running to raise additional funds for a cause they believe in.

Companies like the Aditya Birla Group and ICICI Bank, for instance, are giving out prizes and have organized contests to get their teams excited about fund raising. The largest contingents with over 200 employees come from Tata Consultancy Services, ICICI Bank and Citigroup.

I am not running, but will walk in the Dream Run, says Anu Aga, director, Thermax. I exercise regularly and so the walk is not going to be a problem. Aga will be doing a repeat of what she did at the same event in 2005.

Thermax has around 40 of its employees running alongside Aga. This is a great team bonding exercise for us, says Aga. The ambience in Mumbai is fantastic and we are running for a cause.

There are several corporates who are gung-ho about the Marathon and are participating in the Dream Run. Like Bank of America's CEO, Vishwavir Ahuja, who is running not just with 40 of his employees but his wife and 12-year-old daughter and seven of her classmates. When you are running with so many people, and the crowd cheering you all along, the experience is splendid, says he.

Ahuja who does the treadmill everyday, is excited about his tryst with the terra firma on Sunday.

I am in reasonably good shape and should be able to do the Dream Run easily, he says. In fact, he would like to increase his Dream Run and run more miles next year.

HDFCs Deepak Parekh, with his team of 205 participants, is pledging its support this year to two causes. As many as 29 employees from its Pune office are also joining the run.