The annual Run For Water event has been rebranded as the Alone Together Run for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Facebook photo)

The annual Run For Water event has been rebranded as the Alone Together Run for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Facebook photo)

Abbotsford’s Run For Water morphs into Alone Together Run

2020 edition of popular fundraiser will see runners compete virtually

The annual Run For Water event is set to have a completely different feel for 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular fundraiser will be known as the Alone Together Run this year and feature a virtual format with runners completing their distance solo.

It will run the week of May 25 to 31, and participants can choose to run five kilometres, 10 km or a half marathon.

After postponing Abbotsford’s annual Envision Financial Run For Water due to COVID-19, the Run for Water team quickly pivoted to the idea of a virtual race.

The Alone Together Run aims to bring together hundreds of families across Canada in an active setting while also supporting an important global cause. Registration is free and participants are encouraged to donate or fundraise for emergency supplies to help vulnerable communities in rural Ethiopia fight against COVID-19.

Participants can choose the distance and can complete it at any time and anywhere during that week. Runners will then submit race times online and will be encouraged to share their participation on social media.

“We’re excited to see a movement across social media as thousands of Canadians get active together but apart, all while supporting the clean-water movement to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” stated Peg Peters, executive director of Run for Water.

The Alone Together Run is an opportunity for Canadians who may be feeling alone and isolated right now to come together and fight COVID-19 as a global community. The impacts of COVID-19 have been seen across the world, but the virus is expected to be more deadly in developing countries like Ethiopia where there are already high levels of poverty and inequalities.

“Washing your hands is a top prevention method to stopping the spread of COVID-19, but in countries like Ethiopia, where 91 per cent of the population doesn’t have access to hand-washing stations, this virus will have a devastating impact,” Peters said.

The emergency response package, first and foremost, will be helping the communities that Run For Water has partnered with over the last 5 years – with a total reach of one million people.

These packages include locally made hygiene kits, masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment to emergency personnel and health-care workers in neighbouring towns. In addition, printed material in Ethiopian languages with COVID-19 protection information and solar-powered radios to stay up to date with essential government updates will be distributed to every community.

To attend the virtual Alone Together Run or to donate, visit runforwater.ca.

All donations up to $100,000 are being matched 1:1, and 100 per cent of donations are being sent directly to Ethiopia.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Run For Water event postponed due to COVID-19 worries

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