This year’s Chicago Marathon was a chilly one, but 1,200 Team World Vision runners were motivated to push through—to raise money for African water projects.
On the eve of the race, runners had already raised more than $600,000, and it’s hoped the a further $400,000 will come in within the next two weeks, making a grand total of more than $1 million.
I met Craig Steensma from Chicago, who waved a placard that read, “My wife runs for Africa. Try to keep up.” He said his wife, Laurie, had never run seriously in her life and had no intention of doing so. But he believes her heart was touched by the Holy Spirit when she heard about what Team World Vision was trying to accomplish.
Chris Mote, a medical intern from Algonquin, Ill., has an 80-hour work week that hampered training. But the run fulfilled a burning ambition to help children in Africa.
At a pre-race dinner Friday night, Team World Vision director Michael Chitwood had fired up runners and supporters with a graphic description of communities he had encountered in Zambia and Kenya. He met children who once had to walk up to six miles to collect water, limiting their chance to go to school. Things radically changed when World Vision installed a well just a stone’s throw from their homes.
In another community, he met a girl straining to carry water jugs nearly equaling her own body weight. The water she was able to collect was filthy. Michael said that 1.2 billion people in the world have no access to safe drinking water.
“But hope is coming,” he said. “And it’s coming in the form of 1,200 crazy people running a marathon. It’s almost ludicrous. But our running in this marathon is transforming lives.”