A former Illinois pastor has set off from Santa Monica on a run across the country to raise funds to provide clean water for a village in Kenya.
Steve Spear, 49, a former pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in a suburb of Chicago, hopes to run the equivalent of a marathon – 26.2 miles – per day from California to New York over the next five months as part of the “Running for Water” project. He is the running ambassador for Team World Vision and hopes to raise $1.5 million to provide clean water for a Kenyan village of 30,000 people.
Spear began his coast-to-coast journey April 8 at the Santa Monica Pier.
Members of the Pepperdine University Women’s Running Club joined the former pastor for the first mile of his journey, and volunteers, professional trainers, nutritionists and in-kind sponsors will facilitate Spear’s expedition.
Running for Water is the brainchild of Spear, who said he was inspired to create the initiative after meeting a 7-year-old Kenyan girl, Winnie, who lives with her parents and three siblings.
Spear notes that like millions of other girls whose families lack access to clean water, Winnie walks alongside her mother for six to 10 miles every day to collect contaminated water in old fuel containers, which can weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of children reportedly die every day due to diseases linked to unsafe water, he said.
Information, www.teamworldvision.org.