Gines Satchithanandam will be sharing his love of running with Chatfield-area residents when he leads a charity run on Tuesday morning.
Gines Satchithanandam will be sharing his love of running with Chatfield-area residents when he leads a charity run on Tuesday morning.
Gines Satchithanandam is running for the pearls.

"I'm running for Project Pearls, to give the children of Ulingan, Philippines, a helping hand. This event started before the typhoon hit - Ulingan is a poverty-stricken part of the country. The typhoon has increased the severity of the cause and need," said the Australian Satchithanandam, who shortens his last name to "Satchi."

He will don his running shoes in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve in Chatfield, setting out to raise funds for Ulingan's young "pearls" at the very same time that runners start their distances in England and in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. The run is slated to start in England at 10 a.m., in Melbourne and Sydney at 9 p.m., and in Chatfield's City Park at 4 a.m. Gines is visiting Chatfield for the holidays as his wife's grandparents live here.

He is married to Kacia Erickson, daughter of Joe and Caryn Erickson, granddaughter of Ardys Hurley and the late Bob Hurley, and Mike Erickson and the late Delores Erickson.

"I am originally from Melbourne, Australia, but now, I reside in Belgrade, Maine, with my family," Gines explained. "I am the assistant director of Camp Runoia, which is a traditional all-girls summer camp. Kacia and I met in Windsor, New Hampshire, one summer as we were both working as summer camp counselors. Kacia grew up in Fremont, Neb., with frequent visits to Chatfield, as both her parents grew up there."

He explained how he came to be the leader of the Chatfield run - providing the United States' Chatfield-area residents opportunity to participate in the charity effort.

"A friend of mine, Danny English, who lives in England, volunteered in the Philippines before the recent typhoon hit. He worked with children over there, creating a week-long summer camp-based program," Gines said. "After he was there a while, he realized the intelligence, creativity, caring and loving these children have."

However, he continued, these children lack resources and access to education. So, Gines' friend decided he would do what he could to help, so this idea for a run originally started with Danny creating an ultra-marathon event in England.

"Now, not only being a friend of Danny's, but also, with my passion to work with children and believe what they are capable of - and being an avid runner that likes a challenge - I decided to join him," Gines added.

He elaborated on the run's fundraising goals. "Seeing this started in England, the fundraising goal is 1,000 pounds, which is roughly $1,650 U.S. dollars. We are just over halfway, with not long to go," he said. "We are hoping people reading this will realize how fortunate we are and support a local event that will benefit children in the Philippines that don't have much. We are hoping they will dig deep, because even a small contribution will go a long way when they all add up."

Gines pointed out that we, as Americans, take a lot of things for granted, including having food on the table, being with family, living with a roof over our heads, having access to education and more.

"When I think about the children in Ulingan surviving with hardly anything, it puts a lot in perspective for me," he added. "I see it this way: If I can help someone less fortunate than I am, especially children, I will do what I can to help out."

Though Gines pointed out that there are possibilities for poverty relief, beginning with the steps of his own two feet, he related that he didn't grow up running - it's something he chose to do, all or nothing.

"Funny enough, I have not always been a runner. I've always been interested in health and fitness, but not always been a runner," he said. "Three years ago, I thought to myself, 'How hard can it be?' and 'Running is just walking, but faster,' so I entered my first ultra-marathon, not even having done a half marathon. I decided it was 'Go big, or go home!'"

The ultra marathon was 100 kilometers, or roughly 60 miles, through the mountains, Gines recalled.

"It was tough, but it got me hooked," he said.

Gines enjoys running and the fact that it is something he can do anywhere and in almost any conditions.

"Being able to get outside and exercise in the outdoors is great. I enjoy the power of a good run," he said. "It clears your mind, breaks a sweat, always puts you in a better mood than you started and it's good fun. The last ultra-marathon I competed in was The Rock Run, a 50-mile race on sand around Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. However, I have never run an event for such an important cause that I have been one of the lead runners. Therefore, this ranks up there!"

Gines invited Chatfield area residents to get ready to take on the cold and run as far as they can for the children of Ulingan.

"I am the lead runner in the U.S. sector of this event, striving to make our goal and get people to join me," he said. "By others joining me on this run, it increases the awareness of this event and the great cause it is going to. It's also a great chance to burn some calories before the number of Christmas dinners to come."

Gines said the event is open to "runners of all speeds."

He added that he welcomes runners that want to do the whole distance with him - 30 miles '-or runners that want to join him along the way at certain parts of the course.

The run's route is set to take participants from City Park, south to 245th Ave., then west to 250th Street, and from there, to Morgan Road and Lilac Road, back to Main Street.

"The course will be divided into five segments. The first will be 9.5 miles, the second will be 6 miles, the third will be 4.6 miles, the fourth will be 5.5 miles, and the final will be 5 miles, though distances are approximate," he said. "People can join me for multiple or only one segment of the run."

The run will be starting at Chatfield City Park at 4 a.m. - on the corner of Main and Third Street - if runners are doing the whole distance or the first segment.

"If people are not planning to do the whole distance and only a segment, they should plan for return transportation. However, if they are planning to do the whole distance or the final segment, they will be fine, as we finish on Main Street."

Gines advised fellow runners to wear something warm but still movable.

"A warm beanie and warm set of gloves is a must," he added. "Depending on how far you are running, have a light but sustainable breakfast. I will be carrying snacks to eat along the way - bars, a banana, carrying a camelback."

He's determined to make the run happen, no matter the weather, because the children of the Philippines had no choice what the weather would be.

"I will be running, rain, hail or shine, even snow or ice. We would love your support in some shape or form," Gines concluded. "We are striving to reach our goal, so donations would be great, but also fellow runners joining me, people cheering us on. People need to know they can help children on the other side of the world by giving something small - financial, time, effort, doing a few miles...there are plenty of ways."

For more information on the run, or to join, contact Gines Satchi at (605) 610-7500. To donate, log onto http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/ultra-marathon-knowsley-safari-park-to-nutall-park-/92768.