Flint — When runners crossed the finish line of the World Vision 6K on Saturday, May 4, they were running with 50,000 others around the globe.
In a city with well-publicized public water problems, the participants were running and walking for access to clean drinking water locally and worldwide. Of the 100 who took part, several were local residents.
Joe Wright of Linden finished first with a 3.7-mile run time of 22:13. Wright is the assistant track and cross country coach for Linden High School, and an associate pastor at Fenton Church of the Nazarene in Tyrone Township. He said five local church members also ran the race.
Wright said the effort to pair his passion for running and improving communities through races is a new but important part of his life, and part of his life as a Christian. “It makes running more than just about me,” he said.
He ran the Wings of Mercy 5K race in 2018. Wings of Mercy provides airplane rides for medical patients for care that would otherwise be inaccessible due to distance. Wright plans to run it again with his daughter in a stroller.
Wright appreciates that the World Vision 6K focused not only on local water, but also global water access.
Organizer Joshua Kennedy is associate pastor at West Flint Church of the Nazarene. He said the 6K distance is chosen because it’s the average distance women and children in developing countries have to walk for any access to water.
This distance struck married couple Curtis and Jordan Groover of Fenton as they ran together. Jordan said the first lap felt fine, but then she realized that someone would still be walking just to access water. “When they do it, they’ve got water on their backs,” Curtis added. “It’s like a precious commodity to them.”
As a couple, they try to participate in these events a few times a year. Curtis also ran the Chicago World Vision race.
Kennedy said this race raised $5,100 through registrations and donations. This will give lifelong clean water access to 100 children. One method is through new wells being dug in areas of need, usually in developing African nations. “The long-term vision of that is to install them and train people how to utilize them and maintain them,” Kennedy said.
The event also raised $6,100 for the Flint Kids Fund with several Flint-area sponsors.
While the 6K was held in Flint, there were 50,000 others across the globe running on the same day. There were approximately 40,000 in the U.S.
The next race date is tentatively set for May 16, 2020. Go to teamworldvision.org for more information.
This was the inaugural Flint race, but also the first large event utilizing the brand new Chevy Commons trail system, a 60-acre portion of the city-owned, former automobile manufacturing facility, commonly known as Chevy in the Hole, into a natural area called Chevy Commons.
Wings of Mercy 5K:
June 22, 2019
Go to wingsofmercyrunway5k.org for more information
For more information about World Vision,
go to teamworldvision.org
For a selection of
go to runmichigan.com/calendar