Last week I eclipsed a significant training landmark: I’ve run over 1000 miles this year. At first this seems like a big accomplishment. It took 170 hours of running to do this. Some people have asked me how I find time to run almost every day; however, when put into the context of the global water crisis, the time I spent running pales by comparison to the hours of work done by those collecting water every day.
For example take Malawi, a wonderful country I have had the pleasure of visiting twice while volunteering for Water For People. A recent paper by Stanford University1 estimates that the average amount of time someone in Malawi spends fetching water is 32 minutes, every day. This translates into 195 hours, every year. This is significantly more time than I have spent running this year. And water is quite heavy, 8.3 lbs. per gallon. A 5-gallon bucket weights over 40 lbs. Obviously, I would not make it very far running if I had that much extra weight to carry.
This illustrates the severity of the situation in Malawi and many other developing areas. In just one day, it is estimated that more than 152 million hours of women and girl’s time is consumed collecting water for domestic use2. Taken together, the lost productive time due to water collection is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal-Mart, UPS, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of water.org.
So, if you find yourself remotely impressed by the amount of running I have done this year, please consider the immeasurable work done by the hundreds of millions of people every day to acquire water.
I have achieved 50% of my fundraising goal for the NYC Marathon. Thank you to all those who have supported this cause. Anyone interested in donating to my Water For People - NYC Marathon fundraiser can do so through this link: www.crowdrise.com/goodwill
2. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2010). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2010 Update.