When race day turned out to be one of the wettest days all month, the Run for Water Trail Race took on a whole new dimension.
“The reason we volunteer to organize this race and why over 200 people race with us annually is to help bring clean water to rural Ethiopia,” wrote trail race director Paul Enns. “This year we had to literally run through water to raise money for clean water!”
Run for Water is a non-profit society that has been organizing an annual road race for the last 12 years in Abbotsford, BC. The 10/25/50K trail races held on nearby Sumas Mtn were begun by volunteer race directors Kevin Barata and Paul Enns and have raised approximately $100,000 over the last four years.
“Our model is unique,” said Paul. “Since corporate sponsors cover all of our race hosting costs and our trail race organizing team is volunteer-run, every dollar from every racer entry fee goes directly to our clean water project partnerships in Ethiopia.” Over the years this has resulted in the equivalent of two villages receiving clean water wells after raising 10% of the project costs through their own means. “Kevin and I have both traveled to Ethiopia and have camped in the villages that have been changed by clean water. Young women can now attend school rather than hike alone for hours in a daily search for water. It’s life-changing!”
The rain this year increased the degree of difficulty of an already challenging course. “Our almost-entirely single-track 25K race route takes racers to the top of two adjacent peaks, with a plunging descent between them. The 50K racers complete the 25K course twice, but in reverse directions,” said Paul. “One year we had two racers travel here from the States. They wanted to run a 50K together, we’re only a 20 min drive north from the USA/Canada border, and they liked our cause, so it made sense. Trouble is, they only realized our elevation is listed in meters—not feet—the day before the race. They ran their hearts out and seemed to have a great time regardless!”
“The people who come to race with us bring so much energy and determination. I think our great race day vibe is also deepened with the knowledge that their entire race entry fee is helping another family get access to clean water for life. What’s not to like about that?”
Follow Run for Water Trail Race on Instagram and Facebook to donate and keep up with this great cause. Mark May 30, 2020 on your calendar next year to run this fantastic race.
(Feature photo credits 1- Trevor Weimer, 2- Dave Mallari)