About this time last year I had written a somewhat critical account of the first ever Sevathon Walk/Run. What a change a year brings!
The Sevathon is an annual walk/run organized by the India Community Center to foster a spirit of service among the members of the Bay Area community. Last year participants pledged to their favorite charities while signing up for the run. This year the team behind the Sevathon brought the non-profits in as partners. Over 40 non-profits partnered with ICC this time, not only underscoring the spirit of service that was Sevathon’s mission, but also providing the marketing muscle by aggressively publicizing the event among their own friends and donors.
As a result about 2,000 people gathered on Sunday July 18, 2010, to participate in what truly felt like a call to service. The 5K/10K walk/run started promptly at 8:30 as planned, with the route neatly marked out and plenty of volunteers with water and bananas along the route. A giant timer at the finish allowed runners to check their times, making the event much more professionally run than last year.
Many more booths dotted the Baylands Park this year, and the health fair returned from last year. I did not linger aftr the event, but a real effort was put in for a mela feel, with food booths and a few game booths for the kids courtesy of the non-profit partners. A stage was set up for musical performances by local musicians and an area for kids offered face-painting and games to entertain the kids.
The idea to coopt local charities was just a terrific one, as I got several emails ahead of the event informing me about the Sevathon. There was quite a buzz in the Bay Area breeze about what is, after all, yet another walk/run event. To separate an event from the herd of other similar ones is not an easy task; ICC accomplished it very well. The improvement was dramatic and I think a new tradition just got established.