Indian in marathon to draw attention to water shortage

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Bangalore, Dec 24 (UNI) More than 6,000 people die every day due to lack of safe drinking water and over one billion people lack access to potable water.

This forced California-based Blue Planet Run Foundation to hold a 25,000 km marathon in June-September this year to draw the global attention and launch a campaign.

But for Sunil Jayaraj, the only Indian runner to have participated in the 95-day non-stop run, the reason is different.

''A pot of unsafe water for Rs four in my home district of Kolar in Karnataka and the cry for water in the flood-affected Bihar, Bangladesh and Nepal created a sort of thirst in me to find a way out to solve drinking water problem in India,'' he told UNI.

He quit his lucrative job of Quality Engineer in a private firm to take up studies on water in Eastern Manchester University.

''I was in search of ways to raise funds to achieve my goal. In the US, they run to raise funds.

To a question, Sunil (29) said Philanthropists, Dr Nagaraj and Dr Renuka Nagaraj, after getting to know his desire to run for a cause, sponsored him by providing 500 US Dollar for every mile he ran and contributed Rs 10 lakh for participating in the marathon.

''And here came the opportunity knocking when Blue Planet Foundation aimed at a run for fashion and water resources management.

''Because of my interest to run for a cause I was called for interview in which I explained the prevailing condition in India and wanted to do something to solve the problem in my country and State of Karnataka in particular.'' Sunil said it was incredible experience to finish 24,000 km with athletes who included Olympians.

''For me, my cause was very important. I went to different schools and talked to the children, told them about water crisis in India, Bangladesh and in Asia. It really conveyed the message of what the run was for.'' Sunil proposes to open a Water Management Centre wherein training can be imparted towards providing safe drinking water to all.


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