Students stride toward change in Africa

March 28, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Partnering with World Vision, runners prepare for Twin Cities Marathon

News | Greta Sowles

Students stride toward change in Africa

Sophomore Zach Horejsi and senior Christine Carroll train on campus for the Twin Cities Marathon, to take place Oct. 6. | Photo for The Clarion by Erin Gallagher.

Running 26.2 miles is no easy task. Neither is raising $1,310. But both can become a possibility through the Twin Cities Marathon and Team World Vision.

This year, Team World Vision is forming teams to run the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 6 with the intent of raising money for clean water projects in Zambia, a small country in Africa where almost half the population lacks access to clean water.

As of right now, the Bethel team, which is led by captain Christine Carroll, has 30 members and is within reach of its goal of 50 runners. One of those already signed up is sophomore Ben Cline. “It’s an opportunity I can’t pass up,” he said. “On top of accomplishing that life goal ... I have the opportunity to make a real difference.”

Team World Vision is asking each runner to raise $50 for each mile run on race day, which amounts to $1,310 for all 26.2 miles. The money raised goes through World Vision straight to the engineers in Zambia, who create a plan to build water wells in a way that is best for the community.

“As soon as that money is raised, the staff in the field becomes aware that the money is available,” said Bradley Hofbauer, the Twin Cities director for Team World Vision. On average, there is a 12-month turn around period, meaning it takes the people in a community between six months and two years to become beneficiaries of a water solution.

Surprisingly, 80 percent of the people who join Team World Vision are new to running. In fact, most of the runners were not interested in running a marathon until they heard about the accessibility of the race. “Pretty much anyone who can walk can complete a marathon in six hours,” Hofbauer said. “They have the ability to really change lives by doing it.”

Team World Vision also has an extended training program to prepare runners. It lasts 26 weeks, which is much longer than the typical 18-week marathon training program. The training starts with 20-minute intervals, jogging for two minutes and walking for one.

Averaged throughout the whole year, the training program is about an hour to 75 minutes of training, three to four times a week. “There are not many doctors in the world who would tell you not to elevate your heart rate for an hour, three times a week,” said Hofbauer. A common strategy for race day is to walk all of the water stops, which occur about every mile-and-a-half to two miles. “Our training is very minimalist – just getting people to the finish line,” Hofbauer said.

For the runners on Team World Vision, the race is more than just crossing a finish line. “We have a responsibility to make sure that our brothers and our sisters who are right next to us and who are across the world have their basic needs met,” Carroll said.

“A 7-year-old carrying 40 pounds of water has worse health problems than almost anybody in the United States,” added Hofbauer. “If she can do that, then we can do this so that she doesn’t have to do that.”

This year, the funds raised from Team World Vision in the Twin Cities Marathon will go directly to Zambia instead of being put in a pool and dispersed to ten different countries like they have in the past.

As funds come in, a picture of a beneficiary will come up on a runner’s fundraising page. This process is unique to the Twin Cities race this year, and Team World Vision will use the results to test how the change affects fundraising.

“There’s a reason to do it, and it is not a self-centered reason," said Carroll. “You are doing it for someone.”

The cost of the marathon is $125 per person. Registering to run with Team World Vision is free. Registration information is available with Christine Carroll or outside of the Campus Ministries office. You can join the Bethel team at www.teamworldvision.org/goto/twv-bu.

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