EDITORIAL: A remarkable ‘run’

Wow, Abbotsford!You really outdid yourself on Sunday.

Wow, Abbotsford!

You really outdid yourself on Sunday.

What an amazing turn-out for the fifth annual Run for Water – more than 4,200 participants.

That’s eight hundred more people than last year. In 2008, when the run began in Abbotsford, there were 650 runners.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that this event has such appeal to people who are not “marathoners.” More than half of Sunday’s participants were in the five-kilometre fun run. There were families, parents with babies in strollers, school kids, and seniors.

They came out to enjoy a pleasant day, get some exercise – and help people on the other side of the world.

This year, participants raised a stunning $260,000 for the cause – to create access to clean drinking water for people in southern Ethiopia via the HOPE International Development Agency.

According to the organization’s website, in 2012, HOPE will use its funding this year to bring clean water projects to the village of Koshale, where families get their water from a highly contaminated water source that is a three- to five-hour walk away.  Sixty per cent of the children in this community do not attend school, primarily due to poor health and the daily need to collect water.  There is poor sanitation, limited knowledge of how to maintain good health and a high rate of water-borne diseases, particularly amongst the children.

HOPE aims to change all that, and more than a quarter of a million dollars raised last weekend is a major step toward that goal.

To the participants, volunteers and organizers involved in the Run for Water – give yourself a very well-deserved pat on the back.