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B.C. runner uses virtual Comrades Marathon as fundraiser for COVID-19 relief in India

Kaushal Parikh is running for children in his home country of India, which has been hit hard by COVID-19 in recent months

Photo by: Kaushal Parikh

Kaushal Parikh moved from India to North Delta, B.C., six years ago with his wife and daughter. The rest of his and his wife’s families are back in Mumbai, where they have endured a pandemic nightmare over the past couple of months as India has been hit extremely hard by a second wave of COVID-19. Seeing his home country ravaged by the coronavirus, Parikh decided he wanted to do something to help, and he landed on a fundraising run. He was already entered in the virtual Comrades Marathon 90K race in mid-June, so he dedicated his run to the people of India, pairing the race with a fundraiser for Save the Children

Parikh and his wife at the 2015 Mumbai Marathon. Photo: Kaushal Parikh

Running Comrades 

Parikh has been an avid runner since 2012, and he has competed in several ultramarathons, including races in Canada, the U.S. and India. While he has been registered to race Comrades the past couple of years, the pandemic has prevented him from physically getting to race in South Africa. The virtual race isn’t what he had planned for, but he’s making the most of it, and he hopes to bring his community together for the race. 

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“I see a lot of people walking and running around where I live,” he says. “I want to bring people together and to support the cause, so I’m inviting people to run with me on race day.” Parikh will be running at North Delta Secondary School on the track, starting his 90K journey at 5:30 a.m. on June 13, which happens to be his birthday. 

“I decided to run on the track to take the challenge to a slightly different level,” Parikh explains. While the in-person Comrades race would have had a lot of hills, Parikh says he wouldn’t have been able to find a route in North Delta that offered similar elevation gain while still allowing him to receive regular support from his family with food and water. Because of that, he decided to “trade the physical challenge for a mental one with 225 laps around the track.” 

Parikh and his running club in Mumbai. Photo: Kaushal Parikh

Save the Children 

Parikh hopes to finish the 90K run in nine hours or less, but he says the biggest goal for the event is to raise as much money as possible for Save the Children. “I’m very happy with all of the support I’ve received so far,” he says. Parikh set a fundraising goal of $1,500 for his run, and total donations currently sit just above $1,200 with just over a week to go until his race.

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On top of the Comrades Marathon, Parikh added another component to the fundraiser, noting that he would run 600K between May 1 and June 15. By the end of May, Parikh had already hit 500K, which he says was easily the biggest month of training in his running career to date. With a few training runs left before his 90K run on June 13, Parikh is sure to hit his 600K goal before the fundraiser ends. 

When he first decided to create a fundraiser, Parikh says he researched a lot of different charities. He saw a number of wonderful and influential organizations, but Save the Children stood out to him. “Their values really resonated with me in a lot of ways,” Parikh says. “They started this specific initiative for children in India who have been impacted by COVID, and that let me combine my two passions: running and helping children.” 

To learn more about Parikh’s fundraiser and Save the Children, click here

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