Why I #RaveGreenRun for Clean Water

Aug 12, 2015


Deborah Kidd
science writer

Suited up and ready to run.

Shortly after the Mile 2 marker, doubt started to creep in. Mile 2 might sound easy enough, but let's clarify one important detail straight off: I am not a runner. Given the choice, I will gladly walk, thank you very much. But a recent move to a new home and a tricky commute have made me a reluctant jogging commuter. Shortly after I moved, I learned of the first ever 5K sponsored by my favorite hometown team (Seattle Sounders FC, of course!), and well… I blame post-workout endorphins for making me sign up.

At the starting line: Off we go!


So around Mile 2 (of 3.1 miles total), when the adrenaline rush I anticipated wasn't quite kicking in, I remembered who I was running for. Running might not be my favorite pastime, but it is my choice. I found motivation for that last mile thinking of the women and girls who don't have a choice, who trek just as far—and often quite farther—every day, to bring home safe water for their families. If they don't make that journey, their families simply don't survive. So their strength (boosted by a healthy dose of girl-power courtesy of Beyonce), saw me through. And once I committed to these women? Yep, sure enough. There was that adrenaline kick.

Adrenaline-infused on the home stretch.

Clean water was at the top of my thoughts thanks to the partnership benefitting from Sunday's #RaveGreenRun. The Water, Wealth, and Health partnership is a one-of-a-kind, exciting new initiative that will bring far-reaching expertise to bear on water issues in rural Tanzanian communities. Water is health in these communities, but it also livelihood. Daily lives center on agropastoralism - it's a new term to me (and has a beautiful sound, doesn't it?). And I was excited to learn that within agropastoralism, integration is inherent. Fields and fauna. Leaves and livestock. Farmers who support their families through crops and herds depend on strategic irrigation and sustainable water management. And with a stronger season comes greater wealth, resources to invest in a family's wellbeing with clean drinking, safe sanitation, and nutrition on the table.

With Seattle Sounders FC Director of Community Outreach (and former midfielder) Roger Levesque. The only reason we make it look easy is that these water cans were empty... and our balance lasted for about 1.5 seconds.

The Water, Wealth, and Health effort will harness each partners' strengths and experiences, building a comprehensive model to help families take steps toward their own stronger, healthier futures. World Vision's relationships with community farmers matched with Washington State University's insight into agropastoralist livelihoods and woven together with PATH's proven market-based model for WASH promise to empower families and allow them the resources and awareness to invest in health. Top it off with coordination from the Washington Global Health Alliance and support from Seattle Sounders FC (who happen to have the best fans in the country, by the way), and it's absolutely a winning combination!

I crossed the finish line just under 30 minutes. Not too shabby for my inaugural performance (though that's not to say I'll be signing up for an encore anytime soon). I met my goal of jogging the entire 5K, which made me feel strong and healthy. And even more, proud to take part in ensuring the health of many more.