Running (or walking) for water

run for water, race, abbotsford, mill lake

We have a tradition on the last Sunday of May. Today was our 5th consecutive year participating in the Run for Water as a family. We have run the 5km event, we have walked it. We’ve volunteered. We’ve gotten soaked in the rain, sweat in the sunshine, and enjoyed perfect cloudy running weather like today. Our finisher medals are part of our home’s decor. We relish the opportunity to be active together and support a great cause while we’re at it.

run for water, family, abbotsford, running

This morning I had the opportunity to walk the course with Bonita. This is the first time we’ve been able to do the entire course together. Our niece joined us and ran with (raced) Adriel. Jonathan entertained runners near the finish line, together with the Clayburn Middle School drumline. I thought I’d share some “random” thoughts and observations. Feel free to add to them, agree or disagree, share them with others. Here we go!

Celebrating community

Run for Water is a community event. It is great to participate together with thousands of others, both from our community and beyond. I’m constantly amazed how many people we recognize (thank goodness for race bibs with names to assist my memory). We meet co-workers and connections through school. We interact with neighbours and people from church. We see young and old participating together. We see the ethnic diversity of our community on display. We see local business step up and make this event possible.

For the record, yes, I have participated in the Vancouver Sun Run (where thousands of participants become tens of thousands). That’s a much bigger crowd, but the community feel of this event is second to none. Abbotsford should be proud! Thank you Run for Water team.

Laughing while running

One of the traditions at Run for Water is volunteers lining the course, holding up creative signs/slogans to cheer on the participants. Perhaps since I was walking this year (instead of running), I had the time to read them all. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard while running. Here is a sampling…

run for water, sign, encouragement, abbotsford, running

run for water, sign, encouragement, abbotsford, running

“If Donald Trump can run, so can you!”

“Go, random stranger, go!”

“Run like there is a hot guy in front of you, and a creepy guy behind you.”

“Free food at the end of the race.”

“Quit reading this sign and just run.”

run for water, sign, encouragement, abbotsford, running

run for water, sign, encouragement, abbotsford, running

I’m not sure who comes up with all of these, but I think they’re great. Got any to add?

Making a difference

This year’s edition of Run for Water raised funds to bring clean water to Sasiga, Ethiopia. It’s hard to believe that $35 is all it takes to provide clean water, for life, for one person. Earlier today it was announced that $370,000 was raised. Do the math, this is awesome.

We ran/walked for less than an hour this morning. In parts of the world, people (often girls) have to walk 2 hours (or more) to get water every day. On top of that, the water is often full of bacteria and disease. I don’t think twice about turning on the tap in my house and having water. Today, as I walked, I thought about walking to get water. This inspires me to make a difference. As a Christian, I want to take seriously Jesus’ command to love our neighbours and provide for those in need.

Sharing a frustration

I had a sad (frustrating) experience this morning that I have decided to share with others. On our way to Mill Lake, we were sitting in a long line of traffic waiting to cross the 10km/half-marathon course. As we got to the front of the line-up, I rolled down the window and asked the flag person how her day was going? She said is was going okay, but then added: “The only people complaining and frustrated are those who are late for church.” Ouch! This hurts. I’m a pastor, serving in a local church. I’m typically on my way to church on a Sunday morning. I despise being late. But what kind of message does this send to our community? I am not sharing this to condemn, but rather to provoke some reflection.

I remember receiving a phone call at the church office several years ago from a restaurant server. She was a member of a local church and felt compelled to call around and let pastors know how much their staff disliked working the Sunday lunch shift because of the “church-crowd.” Demanding customers, poor tippers, yet pray for their meal before eating. Again, ouch! I will be the first to admit that I’m far from perfect, but I desire to treat all others with respect and courtesy.

What about you? Do you think this is a fair critique of Christians, or simply a few people having bad days? Give this some thought.

Waiting for next year

I just received a text from someone asking me to hold them accountable to sign up for the 10km event next year. I know I want to participate again to keep the streak going. What about you? Will you join us?

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