Abbotsford's fifth annual Run for Water breaks records

A record crowd of 4,254 runners hit the streets of Abbotsford on Sunday morning for the fifth annual Run for Water.

And while the athletic performances were impressive, the most amazing statistic was in the fundraising department. The purpose of the event is to raise money to create access to clean drinking water for people in southern Ethiopia via the HOPE International Development Agency, and $260,000 was raised on Sunday.

Over the five-year history of the Run for Water, over three-quarters of a million dollars has now been raised.

"We've overjoyed," said Ken Baerg, Run for Water board chair. "We surpassed every expectation we had."

That sentiment extended to the number of runners. The event reached its maximum capacity, up from about 3,500 one year ago.

"Yesterday we were turning people away who wanted to register last-minute," Baerg noted. "That's a good problem to have, but at the same time it's lousy to be turning people away who want to participate.

"It's a matter of being judicious with how we spend our money with the anticipated numbers. . . . We'll count on expansion again next year, and hopefully be able to accommodate even more people."

Run for Water marathon champions included Ryan Prachnau of Abbotsford on the men's side (2:42:41) and Rika Hatachi of Coquitlam (3:07:54) on the women's side.

In the half-marathon, Abbotsford’s David Jackson set an event record, completing the course in 1:09:59 to eclipse Jeremiah Johnson’s 2010 mark of 1:10:12. Langley’s Kendra Braun (1:30:04) was the top female.

Yue-Ching Cheng of Port Coquitlam (34:48) and Carla Sturm of Langley (43:45) won the men’s and women’s 10 km races, respectively, while the 5 km champs were Jordan Barr (17:55) and Katia Heppell (21:14), both of Abbotsford.

For the first time, the Run for Water also included an “ultra marathon,” which saw 11 runners complete a 56-kilometre course on Discovery Trail on Saturday.

For more information on the event, visit

A record-breaking capacity crowd of 4,500 runners participated in the fifth annual Run for Water in Abbotsford on Sunday morning. (John Morrow photo)

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