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Envision Financial Run for Water

Stories of Ethiopia

Each of these people I met gave me their name and told me their story.

These are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, leaders, farmers, priests.
They are resilient despite the fact that they have experienced loss beyond what most humans ever face.
They have lost children, spouses, jobs, health. But despite all of that they have still have
hopes and dreams for the future. I can't wait to tell you their stories.

Hindia

Hindia

Wants to be a teacher one day
Priest

Priest

Praying 40 years for clean water
Tesame

Tesame

Hoping for healthy kids and irrigation for her farm
Trengo

Trengo

Walking 4 to 5 hours a day to find water
Ibrahim

Ibrahim

Dreaming his daughters can go to school
Aleko

Aleko

Hoping for a brighter future
Demekech

Demekech

Exciting opportunity to start a business
Buzunesh

Buzunesh

Following a dream to become a doctor
Uncommo

Uncommo

Delivered her baby without clean water
Maymuna

Maymuna

Empowering girls to go to school
Fatira

Fatira

Walking 12km round trip to a contaminated stream
Ahmed

Ahmed

Decided to go to school for the first time
Aziza

Aziza

Cooking for 100 people at a time
Abdella

Abdella

Village chief and advocate for education
Bezawit

Bezawit

Loves going to school and playing with friends

Why Run for Water?

Run For Water is an Abbotsford based nonprofit society dedicated to staging a high-calibre running event

Event Background

In 2007 the founding board members of the Run for Water Society conceptualized a unique event to be hosted in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The vision was to stage a top tier internationally recognized running event that would attract a wide range of participants and athletes and, at the same time, raise awareness – and funds – for people in the developing world who lack one of life's basic necessities – clean water. Since 2008, this volunteer board has staged an annual run which has grown to include a gala event, a race expo and extensive involvement with students who learn about what it means to become compassionate global citizens. All the funds raised – over $1,000,000 to date – go towards helping building clean water projects in some of the most remote and desolate areas of southern Ethiopia.

Health & Clean Water

Runners possess an acute understanding of the importance of hydration – how critical clean drinking water is to sustaining fitness, health and life. In the developing world, the stakes are much higher. Estimates are that 1 billion people on our planet do not have access to a reliable source of clean water and that every 19 seconds, a child dies for lack of clean water! The lack of a water source also means children, particularly young girls, cannot go to school. It means women cannot tend to their family or pursue a livelihood. Instead they spend their days attending to their daily water needs, frequently walking for hours to fetch water that is unsanitary. Each May, we encourage people of all ages and abilities to run for "Water" in order to help those in need access safe, clean water sources. Access to clean water is foundational to securing health, education and economic well-being. Join us!

Run for Water Society

The members of Run For Water Society share the goal of promoting healthy physical activity and community spirit as well as raising funds for clean water development in under-privileged communities.

Run for Water Foundation

Run for Water Foundation is a registered Canadian Charity and can issues tax receipts. Business Number: 829946037RR0001.

Run for Water Expansion

In 2011, the first annual Calgary Run for Water was held on September 10, with over 800 runners in their 10K and 5K events and raising over $50,000. In the future, we plan for Run for Water expansion in other participating cities.

Organizers

Claire Apostolopoulos

Claire Apostolopoulos

Claire has been a K/1 school teacher in the Abbotsford School District since 1999. She and her husband have two boys and recently adopted a daughter from Ethiopia. Claire joined the Run for Water Society out of a desire to make an impact in Ethiopia and to raise awareness about the issues facing the people who live there. As a teacher, she was touched by the fact that so many young people cannot attend school because they must walk for water, which is dirty and full of diseases. She enjoys working with the Run for Water team to educate people about these issues and to give back to the birth country of their daughter. Claire and her husband Dimitri traveled to Ethiopia in the summer of 2013 and visited the water projects that were funded by community participation in the Envision Financial Run for Water. It was a life changing experience for them both and reinforced the reasons they commit themselves to Run for Water each year.

Dimitri Apostolopoulos

Dimitri Apostolopoulos

Ken Baerg

Ken Baerg

Ken has been honoured to call Abbotsford home for his entire life. Professionally, he has worked extensively in the field of labour relations, government relations and policy development. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business Administration. Ken's passions include running, cycling, reading and spending as much time as possible with his two young daughters. Ken's engagement with the local community includes participating in a wide range of sports as both a participant and a coach and serves on a number of community boards.

Shiela Barkey

Shiela Barkey

Shiela Barkey has been on the Run for Water board since 2008 assisting as the Volunteer Coordinator and Kids Activities Coordinator. She enjoys giving back whether it's to her community or globally. Having been to different parts of Africa, Shiela has seen first hand what poverty looks like and wants to make a difference. Shiela is a mother of two girls and has completed her first marathon in 2014.

Jon Brandt

Jon Brandt

As a lifelong Abbotsford resident, Jon is very interested in giving back to his community. He is committeed to the Run for Water board because it serves the local community as well as gives to a larger global cause. Jon is an owner of a local general contracting firm, Summit Brooke Construction. He is married to Karen and has four fantastic children: Marshall, Rebekah, Amy and Hannah. In his spare time he enjoys golf, driving motorbikes, all types of sports, and good food with good friends.

DeVonne Friesen

DeVonne Friesen

DeVonne Friesen leads the Marketing and Sales efforts for an Abbotsford based company, and holds degrees from Trinity Western University and Queen's University. A lifelong local, he lives in Abbotsford with his wife and two children. DeVonne is passionate about the Run for Water cause, and loves the idea of mixing a great community event with the beauty of bringing life-giving water to people in Ethiopia.

Phil Klaassen

Phil Klaassen

Phil has lived in Abbotsford since he was a child and enjoys all this city has to offer. He is a General Manager of a group of companies specializing in Veterinary and Pet Supply Distribution. He is married to Audrey and they have 3 boys who are active in the community through sports and the arts. He has a passion to bring clean water to areas of the world that have limited access to this most precious resource. He has been involved with Run for Water since its inception as a participant and supporter and now is excited to be part of the Board of Directors.

David Letkemann

David Letkemann

David is a partner with the law firm of Linley Welwood, a leading firm in the areas of business and real estate law. He has practiced in the field of civil litigation since 1996. David is also a director of First West Credit Union, a 5 billion dollar organization. David graduated from Law School at UBC and prior to that obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a double concentration in marketing and finance from Simon Fraser University. He resides in Abbotsford and is happily married with three wonderful children.

Kelly Neumann

Kelly Neumann

Kelly Neumann has been part of the Run for Water Board from 2008 to 2015 and has been involved as Race Director and Race Administrator. Her background in education and subsequently the director of an English language program, helped develop her innate organization skills and fuel her excitement for connecting global and local thinking. Kelly lives with her husband and two daughters in Abbotsford. She enjoys running and has completed numerous half marathons and a marathon.

Randall Peg Peters

Randall Peg Peters

Peg is the Executive Director of Run for Water. Having grown up in Ethiopia as a child his passion is to make a difference in our world through clean water. He was one of the founders and has been a volunteer for 7 years. He gained marketing and storytelling experience as the Senior Producer for video productions for TELUS. He has travelled to Ethiopia assessing our water projects numerous times. Peg is a father of four daughters and has run two sub-four hour marathons.

Rob Quiring

Rob Quiring

Rob is a Structural Engineer and owner of IQ Engineering. He grew up in Abbotsford and graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Civil Engineering. When not at the office, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife Suzanne and 2 daughters. He enjoys running the roads and trails of Abbotsford and has run 10 half marathons.

Jana Ratzlaff

Jana Ratzlaff

Jana has been a resident of Abbotsford since 1994. She and her husband co-own a private, personal training facility, Proactive Transformations. Jana’s love of fitness and heart for others keeps her actively involved in the community. She has done volunteer work for the BC Summer Games, our local TeleCare Crisis Line and Elections BC. Jana has three boys and a daughter who keep her life full of adventure.

Robert Schmidt

Robert Schmidt

Abbotsford born and raised. Prominent in local basketball scene as an all-star at the high-school and college levels. Coached at CBC for 11 years until 2004. Worked at CLAC since 2000 in a variety of positions including Union Representative, Research and Education Specialist, Director of Training and the currently as the Provincial Construction and Mining Coordinator. Rob is a father of two children and loves to build trails in his spare time.

Jasbir Singh

Jasbir Singh

Jasbir is a local educator and coach. He is VP at Colleen & Gordie Howe Middle, and taught previously at Clayburn Middle and Princess Margaret Secondary in Surrey. He has been actively involved in coaching football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball in Abbotsford for seven years. His business experience includes Managing Director of Gentec Technologies and Regional Manager for International Investments and Mortgages.

Janet Vink

Janet Vink

Janet joined the Run For Water board in 2012. She is now serving as the Race Director. She has a background in running that spans 35 years and currently works and instructs running clinics at Peninsula Runners in Abbotsford. Janet and her husband, Peter, own and operate a dairy farm in Chilliwack along with their sons.

Michelle Watrin

Michelle Watrin

Local writer and teacher, Michelle Watrin enjoys working with the educational and public relations side of Run for Water. She recently authored a children's book explaining the cause and origins of Run for Water, titled Hope for Tayo. She is a member of the Indiana Track & Field Hall of Fame for middle distance running and a proud Lady Boilermaker, as a member of the Purdue University Track & Field team from 1988-93. Michelle has coached track & field at MEI and Rick Hansen in the past. She enjoys running 10Ks, half marathons, and triathlons, but the most running she does these days is chasing her four young children!

Ray Zahab

Ray Zahab

From ultra marathons to crossing the Sahara and beyond, there is so much to say about Ray and his accomplishments that we don't have enough space! Please visit Ray's Website to find out more about him and 'Impossible-2-Possible', an organization Ray started to inspire and educate youth through adventure learning, inclusion and participation in expeditions.