On October 30th I'll be running "The Halloween Half," a half-marathon (13.2 miles or 21.25 km) down the Provo Canyon. I've been running fairly consistently since July and recently found a new running partner who also wants to be a quasi-serious runner. We go running a couple of times a week at the track and on Saturday morning we'll be doing our first "long run."
I've never actually trained for a big race before, so it's nice to be paired up with someone who has a little more experience. Brother Gillespie set us up. He just ran the St. George Marathon, coming in at 3:51:36. He was a little miffed that he didn't run it in under 3:35:00. That's the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon for his age bracket--he ran the Boston Marathon while we were in Egypt, so either last year or the year before that--and I imagine it's something he'd like to do again. Anyway, he knew that we both wanted to run and that we both needed to work our running times around our motherly duties, so he introduced us saying, "Nancy, this is Wendy. Wendy likes to run. Wendy, this is Nancy. Nancy likes to run, too."
We've been running together ever since. She'll be running the half-marathon with me. More exactly, she'll be running the half-marathon with her husband and I'll be tagging along as the third wheel.
I decided to run for a cause to help me keep going, to make every footstep mean something more than just me...running down a canyon...for "fun." My inspiration for this came from my friends Amy, who also runs for causes, and Tamsin, who is always doing amazing service projects and is simply a service-oriented person, and a dear anonymous friend, who recently was diagnosed with bladder cancer but I haven't asked her if I could disclose her name so she'll remain anonymous.
I've started a campaign at charity:water to earn money for water. My goal is to earn $2,500 by October 30th. $2,500 is enough money to fund half a well that will bring fresh, clean water to 300 people.
Clean water is very important to me--things have a way of becoming more important to you when you have to do without them. In Egypt we carted drinking water to our house week after week after week. It's back-breaking and tiresome work. Our water, though, was bottled water from clean springs in desert oases, not the contaminated water many of the locals were drinking. We saw people swimming in the Nile, drinking from the Nile, fishing in the Nile. We, on the other hand, were afraid to get a drop of non-treated river water on us. The Nile is polluted and snails harboring a parasite called Schistosoma run rampant in the murky water. These parasites cause a disease called Schistosomiasis, which causes an array of complications, most notably bladder cancer, the most prominent cancer in men in Egypt.
Bladder cancer aside, Schistosoma is a terrible disease to contract. According to Wikipedia, "among human parasitic diseases, schistosomiasis (sometimes called bilharziasis) ranks second behind malaria in terms of socio-economic and public health importance in tropical and subtropical areas" and puts and estimated 600 million people worldwide at risk; the disease is endemic to Egypt and approximately 70 other developing countries.
Water free from contamination for drinking, bathing, and cooking is crucial for villages hoping to eradicate schistosomiasis outbreaks as complete avoidance of the parasite is the only way to prevent contracting the disease. (While controlling the schistosoma population is possible, through the introduction of crayfish, for example, that seems to cause another set of problems).
Anyway, that's my rant on clean drinking water. To sum up, I'm hoping to raise $2,500 by October 30th.
I realize I'm starting a bit late starting this whole thing considering it's already October 5th. I fully intended to begin campaigning on October 1st but my plans changed when I was stricken with the stomach flu. I'm finally back in full-force, though, and went running yesterday for the first time since being sick. I think I should be good to go by the end of the month. Plus all campaigns are automatically given a 3-month window so you'll have until December 30th to donate in case you forget.
Go to http://mycharitywater.org/halloweenhalf to donate now. Have your friends and family donate, too!