Voices

The power of running together

Every step you take running together with your friends in our Global 6K for Water is a step a child doesn't have to. Help bring clean water to the world!

Every day, more than 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by unsafe drinking water. You can change that! Every step you take running together with your friends in our Global 6K for Water is a step a child doesn’t have to.

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Two years ago, I was browsing the internet searching for local races. I came across World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. I did a little bit of research to learn more about the need, and I was horrified to learn that:

  • There are 844 million people in the world who lack access to clean water.
  • More than 800 children die every single day from preventable diseases caused by contaminated water.
  • The average distance that women and children travel to collect water is 6 kilometers.

I cannot wrap my mind around the thought of sending my 7-year-old out to walk nearly 4 miles to collect water that would make him sick.

I immediately registered for the race. But while my heart was moved by what I had learned about the water crisis, I expected to have a “one and done” race experience filled with hype, energy, and a bunch of people I didn’t know. I anticipated running my race and then going home feeling good, but unchanged. I was not prepared to be impacted at my core by what I experienced that day.

There’s an old African Proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I witnessed this in action when I showed up for the Global 6k in Detroit. From the moment I arrived, I knew that this event was different from any other race I had ever run. The winds of life change were brewing.

I was surrounded by a sea of orange Team World Vision jerseys — jerseys worn by people wanting to stand up for the oppressed and impoverished children in the world. I was baffled by the incredible gift of welcome extended to me. People wearing crazy orange hats were eager to say hello. These weren’t people seeking to best each other on the running trail. These were brothers and sisters — comrades in arms — banding together to run for a bigger purpose than themselves. They loved each other, as evidenced by the huge smiles, loud laughter, and genuine delight in each other’s presence.

I was immediately inspired, and I wanted in.

Before I knew it, I was picking up a mug that said “Yes” on it and officially joining the team for the 2016 season. I ran my very first half-marathon while simultaneously fundraising for even more children to have access to clean water.

Every step you take running together with your friends in our Global 6K for Water is a step a child doesn't have to. Help bring clean water to the world!
Carrying a tea kettle, 5-year-old Cheru walks more than 6 kilometers with other children to dig for water in a dry riverbed in Kenya. The water often makes them sick, but they have no other choice. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

My 6K race experience turned into an epic adventure of personal growth, purpose, and camaraderie. I now have dozens of friends that I didn’t know two years ago. I have the tremendous privilege of combating global poverty alongside of people whom I consider to be my personal heroes.

I want to personally invite you to the mission. I want you to breathe the living air of this incredible opportunity to do something about a very real, but very solvable, global issue. The number of people in the world who lack access to clean water is slowly ticking down, one person at a time, because of people like us — people like you and like me — saying “yes,” and showing up.

So the question becomes: will you say yes?

There are two ways that you can have your own 6K experience:

1. Sign up to participate on May 19 at a race location near you.

This event is for EVERYONE. You can walk, run, or anything in between. Bring the whole family, and know that you are making a difference together in the lives of children. Every step you take is one a child like Cheru in Kenya doesn’t have to.

2. Sign up to be a host site.

Multiply your impact by gathering 10 or more people together, map out your course in your own neighborhood (or anywhere else), and walk or run for water! The process is super simple, and you will be equipped with everything you need to host a successful event right where you are.

Now it’s your move. Which option will you choose? Can’t wait to see you on May 19!


Haley Bodine blogs at Haley M. Bodine.

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