Two years ago I signed up for an inaugural half marathon in L.A. I had run a few in the past, and had some friends who wanted to try, so I agreed to support them.
5 weeks later, the friends had bailed and I was racing solo.
But it turned out not to be solo after all, because this particular race was the World Vision 13.1 L.A. While I had simply bought my orange jersey and run alone, I found upon arrival on the day of the race a sea of orange runners and walkers, ready to pound out 13.1 for Africa.
Team World Vision is a training group that fundraises for clean water wells in Africa while team members commit to their own health and develop a community together over the weeks of preparation. It’s a win all around.
After my quasi-solo year, I decided to join the official training group for my second race. Although I didn’t know any of the members, I found them to be warm, welcoming, and easy going. We ran at our own paces, chatting with whoever happened to be going our speed that day. And over the course of three months, we became a team, in the best sense. Most of all, our little group raised enough to cover the cost of one water well (it takes about $13,700 and we raised just over that.)
For year three, I am thrilled to be part of a new TWV group at my church. And there are more events all over the country; you can even create your own. If you’re a Hillsider reading this–sign up. If you’re from elsewhere, why not consider a trip to L.A? It’s lovely in January.
Here’s what struck me. One morning our coach, Bruce, gathered the group before our long run. He thanked us for coming, and then said, “Remember, we get to go for a run on this beautiful morning because communities in Africa need clean water closer to their homes. We’re going to cover 8 miles today, but there are kids who walk 10 miles every day to bring the water their family needs for cooking, drinking and bathing. If they can do that, we stay the course in our training and fundraising.”
Sometimes it really is just that clear.
By the way, Bruce is in this video. He’s the one who runs for his health. If I’ve got it right, he’s in his late sixties, and at the time he agreed to coach our team, he hadn’t run in over twenty years, despite being quite active with it up through his forties. But he trained, and he ran the entire thing. He’s running again this year, and I thank him for sparking our team to expand, because not only am I branching out with a brand new team, so are two others from last year’s group.
We’d love for you to join us.