As residents of Warsaw rushed indoors during today’s downpour, one man was out running for a cause very close to his heart. Steve Spear of Chicago passed through Warsaw today on his cross-country run to promote awareness on the need for clean and safe drinking water in Kenya.
Spear, 49, is a former pastor and running ambassador for Team World Vision. He began his run on April 8 in order to raise a total of $1.5 million to provide clean water for a Kenyan village of 30,000 people.
The run began in Santa Monica, Calif., and continued through Airzona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Spear, who is currently on week 14 of his trip, stated he has run the equivalent of 93 marathons in the past 115 days of his run. Though he stopped momentarily for an interview with StaceyPageOnline.com in Warsaw, Spear anticipates he will reach Ohio sometime tomorrow.
“Today’s run ends in Columbia City. Tomorrow we’ll pass through Fort Wayne and then we will be in Ohio by the end of the day. Then we’re New York bound. (There are) still some big cities on the way but that’s kind of the road map between here and Brooklyn,” stated Spear.
According to Spear, he runs 5 days of the week and completes 30 miles each day – a total of 150 miles per week.
When asked what drives him to complete a run that most would consider crazy, Spear laughed, “Sometimes I think it’s pretty crazy. I’m doing it because several years ago the plight of contaminated water in our world really gripped me. I’m doing this to raise awareness and funding so that a community of 30,000 people from western Kenya will have clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for the rest of their lives and the generation that follows.
According to Spear, the run is approximately 3,000 miles and will take a total of 4 to 5 months to complete. This equates to roughly a marathon a day. Though Spear certainly has his hands full with his trek across the country, he is also speaking at churches and civic organizations along the route.
Spear said the cost of clean water for life is $50 per person. Should he reach his goal of $1.5 million raised, the money would provide a lifetime supply of clean and safe water to 30,000 people in Africa.
“The run mainly brings awareness to the cause,” Spear said. “World Vision is the organization that I’m running for. Team World Vision is a branch of World Vision that encourages people to run marathons and half marathons to raise awareness and funding for clean water. I ran my first marathon in 2007 and I thought it was a one and out deal. One became two, which became three. And then a couple years ago came upon to run across America. Prior to this, I’d raised several thousands of dollars for clean water but I wanted to make a really big impact. We call this a ‘robust run for a robust reason.’”
Spear said has a total of 700 miles left in his journey. Of the numerous conditions he has run through thus far, Spear noted that his time in Missouri running in temperatures and heat indexes of roughly 115 degrees was among the most difficult of the environments he has faced.
“It’s been crazy,” he explained, when asked to describe his travels to date. “It’s been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve run through everything from deserts to elevation to driving rainstorms to sandstorms to 110 to 115 temperatures and heat indexes to (encounters with) wild animals … you name it, we’ve encountered it. It’s been nuts.”
For more information or to donate to Spear’s cause, visit www.runningforwater.com. Donations start at $50 (the cost of water for one person).