Seventeen runners from Hope took part in Abbotsford’s Run for Water races last Sunday. Dave Murphy (right) ran the 5k run with his son, Joel Murphy (centre), after running the half marathon. (Submitted photo)

Seventeen runners from Hope took part in Abbotsford’s Run for Water races last Sunday. Dave Murphy (right) ran the 5k run with his son, Joel Murphy (centre), after running the half marathon. (Submitted photo)

Hope runners battle the heat at Run for Water

A group of running enthusiasts compete in Abbotsford.

By Barry Stewart

Fraser Valley communities have abundant supplies of clean drinking water — and for that one attribute, we would be envied by much of the Third World, or even parts of the developed world, such as Detroit, Mich. While it’s not feasible to share our water across the world, our financial donations can help poorer countries develop their own sources. In 2007, a group of global thinkers in Abbotsford envisioned an annual running event that would generate funds, to help develop clean water supplies in Ethiopia. The next year, Abbotsford’s Run For Water was launched and the event has helped achieve great things in Africa.

The group’s site at Runforwater.ca says, “Over the past 10 years you have helped us transform over 40 communities throughout Ethiopia and together we have raised over $2.5 million dollars, which means 100,000 people have clean water for life.” On May 28, Abbotsford held its 10th annual event, with 17 Hope-based runners taking part in the 5k, 10k or half-marathon.

After training through a pretty cool and dismal spring, that Sunday’s heat was not all that welcome to the half-marathon runners, said local runner Dave Murphy. “We started at 7:30 in the morning and it was already 21 degrees by then,” said Murphy, the program director for Camp Kawkawa. “There were quite a few people collapsed along the (21k) course,” said Murphy, who doused himself with four or five cups of water at the numerous water stations to help control his temperature.

Murphy saved his collapsing for the finish line, which he reached in one hour, 32 minutes and 48 seconds. This earned him second place in the men’s age 35-39 class and eighth overall.

“A Kenyan international runner won the age group and was the overall winner,” added Murphy. “His time was one hour, 10-something… he’s in a whole different class.”

Murphy’s training mates, Branden Stewart and Miles Bissky were close behind at 1:34:44 and 1:43:38 respectively — and Megan Bissky’s 1:47:31 earned her second place in the female age 30-34 category. Lenora Poulin finished at 2:04:42 and Erin Froese, 2:06:25.

Miles said, “I felt really inspired by seeing so many people taking part in the run. It was a tough race for me in the heat but I feel like I learned to be a better racer from it.” Results show 247 finishing the half-marathon and 639 finishing the 10k, including Hope’s Kimberly Stewart (52:14), her brother Michael Stewart (54:37), Lisa Friesen (1:02:18), Antoine McHalsie (1:08:50), Bladen Peters (1:32:30) and Sandy Lund (1:50:40).

There were about 2,000 in the 5k fun run/walk, six of them from Hope. Make that eight.

“As it turned out, Miles and I ran the 5k with my son, Daniel, who is eight years old,” said Dave. “We weren’t registered for it but we went along to help him navigate. My daughter Sarah ran with my wife Alicia.”

Results for the 5k were: Sarah Murphy (0:28:15), Alicia Murphy (28:28), Joel Murphy (35:15), Peggy VandenHeuvel (1:04:18), Eli Jeschek (1:04:18) and Lennan Jeschek (1:04:18).

The Hope contingent was promoted by the Hope Running Club, an informal group, which Dave reckoned has 20 to 25 active participants.

“As we get more interest, we could perhaps put on some events in Hope,” said Dave.

Facebook users can search for the “Hope BC Running Club.”