MEDICINE HAT, AB – Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, Medicine Hat runners showed it’s not all about new gear and establishing personal bests.
Over 200 people laced up their shoes to take part in the 2018 Water Run, held in partnership between Nehemiah Construction Ministries and the local YMCA.
Close to $55,000 was raised over the three, five, and 10 kilometre run on Saturday that saw runners make their way along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River.
Money raised from the run will go towards supporting the Turkana people of northwestern Kenya, a nomadic group of over 500,000 people that struggle with access to drinking water.
According to organizer Dave McElhinney, the money raised this year will go towards digging water wells in the region.
“When you go there, you realize that you’re saving lives,” said McElhinney. “The old mamas, they come to me out in the middle of the desert and say, ‘Thank you for the water because now our babies aren’t dying.’ That’s how desperate the situation is.”
Since its inception in 2010, the Water Run has raised over $500,000 and has led to the construction of 54 water wells in northwestern Kenya.
Many families were present at the finish line on Saturday morning, including the Smid family comprised of James and Lori, along with their two children Faith and Drew.
This year’s run was their third as a family, making the trek down from Rocky Mountain House every year since to lace up in the ‘Gas City.’
Lori said it’s turned into an annual tradition for the family because of where the money is going towards.
“It’s life-saving really to give someone water,” said Lori. “And, I think it’s good for our kids to be able to see that and to run for something meaningful.”
“It warms my heart to show our kids that other people matter in this world, not just ourselves,” said James.
Getting the kids involved was an easy decision for the Smids three years ago, and according to Lori it’s something the youngsters look forward to every fall.
“The kids have been fantastic about going out and telling people about what we’re raising money for,” said Lori. “It’s brought us closer and given us a greater purpose to do something better in this world.”
Around 54,000 Turkana people have been able to get access to clean drinking water since the first Water Run back in 2010.
Results of the 2019 Water Run can be found by following this link.
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