Local Couple to Host Carmel 6K For Water On May 19

Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies
Provided Photography

Chances are pretty good if you are a runner, know a runner or thought about being a runner, the most common finish lines that you would cross or envision crossing are the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and a marathon. Now there is a new race to conquer: the 6K.

What is the significance of running a 6K race?

Six kilometers is the average distance African women and children walk every day for around 40 pounds of contaminated water that makes them sick. Imagine having to walk six kilometers, which is 3.7 miles or around 2 hours just for water that not only makes them sick but will literally prevent most children from reaching the age of five. In the United States, it is unfathomable, but this is not an isolated problem, there are 844 million people around the world who do not have a clean water source they can reach in under 30 minutes.

When most people think of humanitarian crisis, they assume the only way to have an impact is to either do mission work, move to the country for a year, or donate an inordinate amount of money. That was Evan McBroom’s perception. Evan, The President of Fishhook, did not think the modest checks he wrote to help church missions would actually make a difference, though he recognized their importance. Nor did he realize that his hobby of running could have an impact. Even though he had run 11 half-marathons in four years, he did not consider himself a runner. And he was absolutely convinced that he would never run a full marathon in his lifetime. 

That was until he had a conversation with colleagues in Chicago who had participated in the Chicago Marathon with World Vision and they shattered his perceptions of what a marathon runner looked like and he decided to join their team.

World Vision, a global humanitarian organization, is the largest supplier of clean water (outside of government) in the world. The organization uses endurance events such as half-marathons and marathons to raise money for clean water.

“I figured it would be great to meet new friends, have support and a reason to get out of bed on those cold winter mornings,” Evan says.

Evan’s focus on conquering a marathon shifted once he met the 1,500 team members the night before the race. He realized the work he was doing was making a difference. His wife Debbie, dismissed his repeated invitations to join him, confessing that “Running was Evan’s thing and truthfully, I did not enjoy running.” But much like Evan, she was inspired seeing how World Vision was making a difference and seeing so many different ages and levels of fitness from the runners that day that she decided to sign up as well.

At the end of their second year, the McBrooms were invited to travel 7,600 miles away with eight other volunteers and staff to a remote village in Ethiopia. They witnessed first-hand why this was not a mission trip, but rather an opportunity to become informed and inspired to continue making a difference back home. The organization offers an Area Development Program that provides a 10-15 year period that involves a two-year assessment with local leaders. They hire people indigenous to the area and pay them rather than Americans because the goal is sustainability. The first priority is to provide a sustainable clean water program. Once that work is done they create a plan for sanitation, education, nutrition, economic development and healthcare. 

The difference between the two villages was staggering. “You could see immediately how critical clean water was to their health. One village was thriving and it was painfully obvious to see how sick those without clean water looked,” Debbie says.

This is when the McBrooms decided to go all in.

They began looking for a way to involve families with younger children but knew that the endurance events would be limiting. So Evan, Debbie along with Beth Sasso, agreed to host the World Vision Global 6K for Water in Carmel on Saturday, May 19 so that all ages can participate. They partnered with Orchard Park Presbyterian Church located at 106th and Rangeline Road for a centrally located start and finish line for its proximity to the Monon Trail to create a fun, family event.

To participate, go to tinyurl.com/Carmel6K to register. The entry fee for adults is $50 — all it takes to provide clean water for a lifetime for one person.

Under 18 years of age the cost is only $25, and once you register for the event, World Vision provides a photo of a real person in need of clean water. You can literally see the face of the person whose life you are impacting. The World Vision Global 6K for Water will be happening simultaneously in hundreds of locations around the world.

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