In exactly one week, the huzband will be taking on the ING NYC Marathon for the second time, well, really third time. (The first he got injured towards the end of training and didn’t get to actually run the race.) Last year when he ran it, he ran with Team World Vision. During his whole training, he was running as one who was raising money for clean water in Africa. Little did we know that when race day came, he would also be running as the newest employee for Team World Vision. Exciting! Now, a year later, he is running as captain of their new campaign for the NYC Marathon with 40 other Team World Vision runners.
So this week is a big week as he prepares not only for race day, but for the team dinner on Friday night to celebrate all these 40 runners have done to help others. I thought it would only be appropriate to have a little interview with the huzband so that you all can share in the excitement that is building!
So to start us off, tell me about the campaign you and TWV are doing this year? What is so exciting about what you guys are doing?
We are doing a brand new campaign. We call it the 26 Child Campaign. At the heart of World Vision’s work all over the world is child sponsorship. When an individual or family in a developed country sponsors a child in a third world country, the life of this child, his/her family and community changes drastically. In previous years we asked our runners to fundraise at least $2500 for clean water in Africa. This year, we decided to ask each runner to find one child sponsor for every mile of the race. The official distance for a marathon is 26.2 miles. Therefore, we are hoping for 26 sponsorships for each runner that we have. Over 100,000 people world-wide apply for the ING NYC Marathon. Only 45,000 people get to run the marathon. That’s why this marathon allows us to make a big ask as compared to the other races TWV has around the country where the commitment is at least $50 per mile.
It’s an exciting race and campaign to be a part of because it changes lives in so many different ways! It changes lives in third world countries where children don’t have water, food, health care and education. It changes the lives in their communities by providing micro finances, loans, clean water and a sustainable culture. It also changes the life of the sponsor as the reality of poverty hits home and they get a chance to engage in changing the world one child at a time.
I find this campaign pretty exciting but also challenging. How many children have been sponsored thus far? And where are they all from?
We have more than 350 children sponsored from all over the world. Some of the countries are Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Hati, Mexico, Rwanda, Uganda, Laos, Ecuador and so many more countries!
What sort of emotions are you feeling leading into this week?
I am pretty excited for our team members. All are from different walks of life, ages, even countries: we have 9 Australians coming to join us from Team World Vision Australia. TWV Australia runners were doing a different campaign, fundraising money for clean water and just listen, these 9 people have raised over $100,000. 9 people! How awesome is that! I am excited for the big percentage of first timer marathoner we have within our team. They decided to take on this adventure and I can tell by hearing their stories, how their lives are being transformed. I am also nervous because 26.2 miles is a respectable distance. It’s a lot. However, even though I am nervous I am also confident. I have been following my training plan very carefully. And of course, this is the greatest race on earth so I have the privilege to do this for a living. I can’t wait for next Sunday, to cross over the Verrazano bridge feeling like a rock star with helicopters hovering in the sky, look down towards downtown Manhattan from the bridge knowing I will be running through all 5 boroughs with the millions of people who come to cheer, pumping up the runners that day. Finally, I am very thankful to God for allowing me to be a part of this awesome journey. This truly is a dream job for me.
In the above picture, you have a picture of someone on your shirt. Who is that?
That is the little girl that we [our family] sponsor. Her name is Diana and she is from Kenya. One of her jobs back in her town in Kenya was to fetch water. Every day she had to walk several miles to get contaminated water and bring it back to her family for them to cook, wash, drink and whatever else they needed the water for. Now that we sponsor her, World Vision has implemented several initiatives that are transforming her life. One is installing a water well in her village with clean water. So as a runner, when I get thirsty every few miles, I often think about what million of kids go through every day as they have to walk to get dirty water.
What is it about running that you love so much?
I love to run. (laughing) There is no science to it. While I run it is quite; I get to listen to God’s voice and pray about anything in life. I also enjoy the challenge of it. I often experience what is called ‘the runner’s high’. It brings good memories from childhood when my dad would take us to run on the mountains of Colombia. As well, I want to be healthy for my family for years to come.
I am so thankful for what my huzband does, that he is there along side these other runners, not only encouraging them but going through the process with them. I think running a marathon for children around the world is pretty life changing and along this journey, we have seen some effects it has had on some of the runners. I would encourage you my friends to check some of these runners out; they just might truly awe you! Also, feel free to post some questions you might have for J about the NYC Marathon, running or anything else that might pop into your mind. I’d love to do a follow-up post with your questions!
Era: This is Era’s first marathon and if you were to read any blog, her’s should be the one. All I can say is wow! She truly listened to all God was showing her on this journey and in the process, found 26 children a sponsor home! And she’s not stopping there…
Ben: Ben is the husband of Olivia, The Biggest Loser’s season 11 winner! While she was at the ranch, he was home on his own weight loss journey where he lost over 110 pounds. One awesome guy, that’s all I gotta say!
I can’t explain what it has meant to our little family to sponsor Diana in Kenya. We pray for her at night, we think of her often in our daily lives, celebrate her birthday and always look forward to hearing from her! If you want to find out more about Team World Vision and how you can partner with them, check out their website: www.TeamWorldVision.org. If you are interested in sponsoring a child on behalf of these runners, go to: www.TeamWorldVision.org/nycsponsor.