Some of them were runners, others of them were not but the group, nearly 20 members strong, is committed.
Earlier this summer a representative from World Vision spoke at Westbridge Church’s Sunday morning service and members of the local congregation left inspired.
“Listening to the presentation I couldn’t help but think of my own daughters,” Corey Hickmann said. The presentation, given by a local World Vision rep, talked about the difficulties for families in Africa to obtain clean drinking water. Children who die from diseases that are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation and children who are poached from their 2-3 mile walk for clean water by sex traffickers.
“What I really liked was the idea of sustaining water. Not just providing water, but digging wells and maintaining them,” Jeremy Hager said. This will be Hager’s 3rd time running the Twin Cities Marathon on Team World Vision.
“Running’s the least I can do,” Hager added.
Running isn’t all they are doing. By signing up to run with World Vision, each runner commits to fundraising for the cause. They are each still responsible for their marathon fees, shoes, jerseys and all of their training but in addition they are committed to raising funds and awareness to the need for water in Africa. Each runner commits to raising $1300 and the Westbridge group set a goal of raising $20,000. “It costs $50 to provide clean water for one person for a lifetime,” World Vision’s literature reads.
“That’s harder than the running,” Hager said.
“It’s hard to ask people for money and to support you like that,” Amy Hickmann added.
The group shares their fundraising link via social media, asks friends and family and rely on each other to think of new ways to raise money. “It’s encouraging to be out on a run and get a notification that someone just donated money,” Chris Marshall said.
The day after the World Vision presentation, the training began.
Considering a majority of the runners had never run a marathon, their work was cut out for them. The group runs six days a week individually and tries to do one big group run each week. “Saturday mornings are usually the long group run and open to anyone,” Amy Hickmann said.
How does anyone find time to do all this running? Lots of juggling.
“It’s hard. You really do have to make time to do these long runs,” Amy explained.
“Lots of juggling. Those long runs can take three hours,” Chris Marshall said noting that while the training plan had them running the long run Saturday he would have to make time and run it Friday do to plans with his kids. “It doesn’t matter if you’re married, single, have kids or don’t. You just make it work.”
“It’s hard but I just think of the kids I’m running for,” Amy said. “That gets me through.”
Westbridge’s World Vision group is just a couple weeks away from their 26.2 run. If you’re interested in making a donation to World Vision on their behalf, visit their team page.