Running for a Cause: Friends of the Library
Sundar Sivaraman and John Ralston are two marathon runners from Hopkinton. Together they are raising money and running for the Friends of the Hopkinton Public Library and trying to beat their personal best running times.
Have you ever wondered what drives someone to run 26.2 miles when they know they aren’t going to win the race? For John Ralston and Sundar Sivaraman the thrill is in doing their best and being a part of one of the oldest running traditions in the world.
Ralston and Sivaraman will both be running in this year’s Boston Marathon, together they are raising money for the Friends of the Hopkinton Library.
Both of the runners have competed in the race from Hopkinton to Boston before. Sivaraman ran the marathon in 2009; Ralston did the same last year.
As avid users of the Hopkinton Public Library, the two men jumped on the opportunity to run the race again and support a cause they really believe in and see benefit from.
“A town is defined by how good their library is; how many people use it and how big the collection is,” Ralston said. “The money we raise will help make our already great library better.”
Ralston and Sivaraman have more in common than just running for the same group, both live in the same neighborhood. While this seems like a great benefit, there can be downsides to it also.
“The hardest part right now is raising the money,” Ralston said. “We are trying to get donations from the same group of people. We decided to work together so we can cover more ground rather than compete for the same money.”
The ground they are covering is something that they both see on their daily runs, it’s the town of Hopkinton and all the people who live here. How they see it is where you start to notice the differences between the two men.
“I love to run down Ash Street or Hayden Rowe when I’m training,” Sivaraman said. “I like to have some habitation. I can run through the woods and it gets repetitive. I like the change of scenery.”
Ralston on the other hand prefers to run off the beaten path.
“I try to run on the backstreets near the YMCA, It’s quieter so I can listen to music and not get distracted,” he said.
Having both run the marathon before, the two know what they are getting themselves into. When Sivaraman ran the race in 2009 he finished in 3 hours 56 minutes. For Ralston the race took 4 hours and 6 minutes. Both runners are looking to improve their performances by about 15 minutes.
“Running a marathon is always a learning experience, last year I learned that nutrition is key,” Ralston said. “I started cramping along the way, so I had to keep stopping to stretch, it was because I didn’t have enough electrolytes.”
The one thing they both learned during there last foray into the race was that the crowd doesn’t care who you are. They are there to support you doing your best.
“I run with my name taped across my chest,” Ralston said. “There’s nothing more empowering than a bunch of total strangers yelling out ‘Go John, you can do it.’”
The two also agree that at the end of the day, it’s about being part of something bigger than themselves.
“We’re getting an officially entry in to a world-class sporting event,” Sivaraman said. “How many people can say they’ve done that?”
Look for both runners around town soliciting donations in the coming weeks, and be sure to support them and the other runners on April 16 during the 116th running of the Boston Marathon. If you’re interested in donating to the runners, the Friends of the Hopkinton Library has set up PayPal accounts that can be found on their website.