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Running With a Thirst for Water

It isn’t even time to make New Year’s Resolutions yet and the women of the Women of Vision East Bay chapter are already running 5Ks and half-marathons!  The only thing that can excuse this outrageous over-achieving (as written by a wanna-be runner) is the fact that they ran to give clean water to their project in Mali.

We can never truly understand what it is like to have to walk miles just for water for our families – carrying the dirty liquid back to our families while missing education and opportunities for further work or play. While these realities are mostly beyond our comprehension, their solutions are not. Through Team World Vision, the East Bay women ran in the Walnut Creek, CA 5K/Half Marathon race on December 8th with a team of 12: Jane Chinn, Sandy Budde, Chris Gathers, Linda Jensen and her son, Mark Jensen, Kim Overaa, Young Hargrove, Shelly Maloney, Franchesa Rosello, Carol Williams, Elizabeth Wilson, and Karin Nunn-Brown.

The race started differently than most races, with team members’ heads bowed and a young pastor offering a prayer for everyone there. The day was a family affair as Linda Jensen’s family cheered each family member and friend crossing the finish line, and an extra donation for their cause from her husband’s work. An extra motivation was to run with Olympian and World Vision supporter, Lopez Lomong, in the race. What a thrill to have him at your heels (or seeing the dust he leaves behind, as the case may be)! Yet, the biggest pull to the finish line may have been the festive World Vision tent, where Chick-Fil-A was waiting for the runners.

Though the event was fun (as getting any Women of Vision partners and families together is undoubtedly fun), the purpose of the event was clear. Each tiresome step on their run was toward clean water. Each step they were willing to make (even if exhausted) and each dollar given by their supporters (even if cashflow is low) represented so many lives that would be blessed. The hope is for these lives to not have to walk that far for water that kills them, but lives that would be free to live in the gift of clean water. Those were purposeful steps!

These 12 runners and their generous supporters raised almost $4,000 (with donations still coming in). They already have a legacy of raising $5,000 last year. East Bay co-chair Kim Overaa describes the race: “The 5k was like a long sprint, very flat, and a lot of cheering from volunteers along the way…” Well, it seems to us that the East Bay Chapter is running a more of a marathon as they stay committed to their life-saving and life-giving projects. Though their roles in advocacy and fund-raising are not likely always flat, they certainly have a lot of cheering from us along the way in their amazing work.

by Anna Goodworth, WOV Hartford, CT

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