Chicago Marathon: Runners raise funds for clean water in Africa

More than 1,600 runners joined Team World Vision to run the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, making it the largest charity team participating.

By John Yeager and Shawna Templeton, World Vision U.S.
Published October 8, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

Team World Vision brought its biggest-ever group of runners to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7.

Running for a cause: clean water

As the largest charity team in the marathon, Team World Vision was comprised of more than 1,600 runners who were seeking sponsors to help them raise $1.6 million to help provide clean water in African countries like Kenya and South Sudan.

A total of 45,000 runners from all 50 states and 115 countries descended on Chicago for the great race.

Thousands chose to make their Chicago Marathon experience more meaningful by running on behalf of a charity. This year, 10,000 participants ran on behalf of 190 charity partners.

U.S. Olympian inspires Team World Vision

Former Sudan Lost Boy and U.S. Olympian Lopez Lomong was in Chicago to cheer on the Team World Vision runners.

On Saturday evening before the race, Lomong addresssed the team and shared his life story. Kidnapped from his village at age 6, Lomong was prepped to be a child soldier. Eventually, he escaped, and 10 years later, he was brought to the United States by an American couple.

Soon after his arrival in the United States, he discovered his natural talent for running. In 2008, Lomong qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the men’s 1,500-meter race. He was voted by his teammates as the flag-bearer in the opening ceremonies.

In August, Lomong competed in his second Summer Games in London — this time in the 5,000-meter, where he finished tenth. “I learned a lot in that race,” Lomong said. “I’ll be back in four years, smarter and stronger. I’ll be back.”

Dirty water cripples communities

Across Africa, a scarcity of water means that children — often young girls — are forced to miss school in order to fetch this basic resource from distant, polluted streams.

And dirty water can be deadly. Some 4,200 children die each day from waterborne illness.

When a community gains access to clean, safe water:

  • Child mortality rates drop by half
  • Children can attend school instead of looking for water
  • Women can care for their families instead of gathering water
  • The incidence of disease decreases
  • Crops and livestock thrive

Money raised by Team World Vision will be used to fund clean water interventions such as:

  • Water piping systems
  • Clean water wells
  • Rock catchments
  • Irrigation canals
  •  PUR packets in emergencies
  • Latrines and hygiene education

How you can help

Thank God for the Team World Vision runners who ran on behalf of children and families in need. Pray also for children and families who lack access to clean water.

Support Team World Vision runners. You can donate to a team or an individual.

Make a one-time gift to World Vision’s Clean Water Fund. Your donation will help bring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to communities in need. These simple interventions can cut child mortality rates by as much as half.