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Former pastor ‘running for water’ from L.A. to New York

  • Team World Vision ambassador runs five months of marathons to raise $1.5 million for clean water in Africa

Media contact:

Natalie Bisaro

Chicago, IL (April 15, 2013) — Steve Spear, 49, is running the equivalent of a marathon a day for the next five months, logging over 3,000 miles to raise $1.5 million to provide clean water for a Kenyan village of 30,000 people. Putting faith into action, Spear’s Running for Water campaign aims to raise funds and awareness for the countless people in Africa who live — and die — every day without clean water.

‘Running for Water’ is the brainchild of Spear, a former pastor at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, IL. The initiative was inspired by a seven-year-old girl Spear met only once. Spear recalls, “Her name is Winnie, and she lives in western Kenya with her parents and three siblings. Winnie is the face of one billion people who have no access to clean, safe water. Like millions of other girls, Winnie walks alongside her mother, for six to ten miles every day, to collect contaminated water in old fuel containers, which weigh up to fifty pounds! Every day, six thousand children die from diarrheal diseases linked to unsafe water.

Spear was so moved by the plight of Winnie and others like her that he decided to partner with Team World Vision, which equips individuals with the training and fundraising resources they need to utilize participation in major athletic events as a means of spreading awareness and raising money for clean water projects in Africa. Since its inception in 2005, Team World Vision has trained thousands of runners, cyclists, and triathletes, and has raised over five million dollars for clean water. One of those runners is Steve Spear — a man who, in fact, hated running until he ran with Team World Vision in 2007.

When asked why he would now undertake such a herculean endeavor, Spear replies, “I did not choose this particular vision — it chose me! The number-one preventable cause of death on the planet is the lack of clean water. Yes, it’s preventable! If in some small way I can effect change, I want to do my part. I use ninety-five gallons of clean, safe water every day to shower, brush my teeth, wash the dishes, and flush the toilet. This is, by far, the largest inequity in our world. My prayer is that Running for Water will benefit Winnie and thirty thousand others like her, by bringing them clean, safe water — and the hope for a better life.”


  • Spear will run 3,200 miles, averaging a marathon a day for 5 months.
  • He will consume 6,100 calories a day.
  • He will go through 10 pairs of running shoes.


  • 900 million people lack access to safe water.
  • 6,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water and basic sanitation facilities.
  • 443 million school days per year are lost to water-related illness.
  • The difference: hope for 30,000 people.

MEDIA CONTACT: For interviews with Spear and his team, please contact Natalie Bisaro at (708) 434-5006.

For donations: TeamWorldVision.org/RunningforWater, or text “water” to 30644

Follow Spear’s run on Twitter (@SteveSpear30), YouTube, and Facebook, or meet him on the road to run part of his journey:

Run Schedule/Map at http://billaphoto.com/runcoasttocoast/mapmyrun/index.php:

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About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews

About Team World Vision
Team World Vision empowers groups and individuals to dedicate their sports and fitness goals to helping World Vision’s work in Africa. Participants select the activity of their choice, and then register online at www.teamworldvision.org, where they access instructions for designing a fundraising web page, get tips and templates for fundraising, and get information about how the funds will be used. Next, they email their fundraising page link to friends, family, and colleagues, inviting them to make a donation. Donations are securely transacted online, and participants can view a list of their supporters and their messages, as well as their fundraising totals.

About Steve Spear's Team
Spear’s run is made possible with the help of Team World Vision and volunteer coordinators, nutritionists, trainers, athletes and medical professionals. The following in-kind sponsors have also made generous contributions to the Running for Water initiative: Asics, Chobani, PowerBar, Nutrilite, UR and Dick Pond Athletics.