It started out as just some talk on a colleague's blog about wanting to be more fit and being motivated to keep working out. My colleague tried the same trick I had tried a year before: buying the cool Nike+ gear to stay motivated for running. For me it didn't work that well. I needed a challenge. And thus, the idea was born: we would organise a challenge to run 10 kilometer on a certain day. We would try to get as many colleagues of our global corporation to run with us, using social networking tools to organise everything, with a big focus on Twitter (@10k4n was the account created for the purpose). And as an added piece of motivation, we attached our company's favorite charity to it: the Nanhi Kali project of the Mahindra and Naandi foundations. This project aims to finance the education of girls from the poorest families in India.
The challenge was a big success, at least, bigger than I could have dreamed. In 2 months time we got about 70 colleagues and friends to run on October 11 2009, in 11 countries spread over 3 continents. On top of that, we raised enough money to pay for a year of education for 22 girls.
This was so motivating for me personally, that I managed to train myself from a maximum run distance of 2.3 kms to a 10K run on challenge day. I have made many friends and connections in the process, that I still keep in touch with, even after leaving the company I worked for at the time. Using Twitter, and other tools like the blog and facebook, made it all possible. It was my best experience in 2009, and one that I might repeat.
Oh, for those interested, the blog is at http://10k4n.posterous.com, and at http://www.nanhikali.org you can find out how you can help girls that otherwise would have no chance in live to get an education.