Run locally, give globally

Abbotsford's annual Envision Financial Run for Water is approaching.

Like many of the nearly 5,000 annual participants in Abbotsford’s Run for Water event, Erin Parkes first joined because she loved the idea of being part of an exciting community run.  But after that first experience, she was inspired to take another step and join the movement in a deeper way.

“The first time I chose to participate because I just loved running in a local event. Now, I’m not just running – I’m making an effort to be intentional with my time and donations,” says Parkes.

“Run for Water is an integral event that brings the local community together to support an intentional cause, bringing and sustaining communities in Ethiopia with water.”

Parkes, a partner in Abbotsford-based family business Valley Pulp & Sawdust, has embraced the vision of Run for Water board chair Ken Baerg.

“From the start, our dream has been to combine a high level run that appeals to everyone from families to elite runners, with raising awareness and funds for international clean water projects,” says Baerg. “Erin’s story is a great example of how Run for Water provides a venue to make a real difference in the world while enjoying the excitement and deep satisfaction of this grass-roots event.”

Dan Helly, an Abbotsford resident and dedicated runner, echoes similar motivations to Parkes.

“It’s great to get our whole family involved in a community event that is making a difference by bringing clean water to another community in need,” says Helly.

“It’s also a great opportunity to educate ourselves and our kids about how blessed we are and to share that with others in need by donating funds as well as participating.”

Helly, who participated in the Run for Water ultra-marathon this past year, adds, “It also motivates me to train for six months of the year so I can run the 56 km and then get up the next day to run the 5K event with my family!”

Parkes adds, “We talk about Run for Water all the time – it has become a passion of ours. So it’s bringing change to our family and those around us because we always invite other to join us in participating in some way by running or donating.”

This year, the Envision Financial Run for Water event aims to raise over $350,000 in donations to fund a clean water project in the southern Ethiopian area of Gezesso. The project will bring clean water and a healthy, hopeful future to over 17,000 residents in that area.

Find out more about the 2014 Run for Water event and the project, and now to register at