Runners find a new vision

By Heather Mead

Ready. Set. Save.

Students are training for an upcoming race to provide African communities with clean water.

Team World Vision is asking Shine.FM and Olivet to participate in the Bank of America Chicago marathon or the Chicago half-marathon in order to raise money for clean water for children and communities in Africa.

The Chicago marathon is the second largest in the world, behind that of New York City. This year 45,000 people have signed up to participate, and 1,700 of those are part of Team World Vision.

So far, World Vision has doubled the number of runners it had last year.

The full marathon will take place Oct. 7, beginning and ending in Grant Park. The half marathon will take place Sept. 9 in Jackson Park, and currently has 20,000 participants signed up.

To prepare for the marathons, participants are encouraged to start getting ready now.

“To prepare they need to start running and keep running,” said Michael Chitwood, a Team World Vision member.

“We put them on a summer training schedule, and we don’t make too many nutrition requirements. Just eat healthy. You can’t be starving yourself to run a marathon.”

The training schedule has people run two minutes and walk one minute for 25 minutes during the first week of training, and includes some easier days with only a half-hour walk.

“On Saturdays you always up it 10 minutes. By June, I should be able to run a 5K with no problem,” said junior Jessica Harper, a new member of the team. “After talking to some legit runners, they said the schedule was totally doable.”

Runners pay a $145 registration fee for the full marathon and a $75 fee for the half-marathon. Team World Vision also asks participants to ask their friends and family for donations to sponsor the organization’s cause.

“We started Team World Vision in 2006,” Chitwood said. “We help provide water to 100,000 people. Close to a billion people don’t have clean water. There’s so many preventable diseases caused by water.”

Because of World Vision’s efforts children can go to school instead of walking miles to fetch dirty water. Parents can use their newly discovered free time to get jobs and provide for their families, and death by dirty water can be cut in half, according to Chitwood.

Juniors Liz Kuhns and Harper signed up despite a lack of running experience.

“The most I’ve run is three miles,” Kuhns said. “It’ll be such a challenge, but really good. I’ve always wanted to do it.”

Harper believes God guided her decision.

“This morning I woke up and said ‘OK, Lord, keep my eyes open to whatever challenge you have for me,’ and this just seemed perfect,” she said.

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