Friday, September 19, 2014

Attention Trail Runners: We need your help with a very worthy cause.

If you are from the south bay or are an avid trail runner chances are you have heard of TCTRuns.com (Troys California Trail Runs) because of their massively popular races that are held down that way. TCT holds races all over Northern California but a good portion of those runs are located in the greater San Jose area parks. TCT has a race coming up next month being held at the Almaden Quicksilver Park that is appropriately named "Well Water for Africa Adventure Race". In road racing it is very common for races to benefit designated charities but you don't see that as much in the trail racing and this is our chance to run one for a cause.

I spoke with Troy Limb about this race and he explained the grass roots effort that brought this race to fruition. It all starts with Troys friend John Burnham who has been a supporter of TCTRuns.com right from the early days. John volunteers for way more than just race day duties he has volunteered to help Troy make TCTRuns.com a successful business and to that end John is the webmaster and all around go to volunteer that is working hard to lift Troy up. Besides running, the common bond between Troy & John is their strong Christian faith. As Troy put it, "John is a true Christian, the real deal. He is a true inspiration to me". From that Troy explained that John travels to Africa every year and helps drill water wells for the people their who desperately need it.


Pay attention to 1:30 mark!!! This is what were talking about!!!

Troy went on to explain that John finances his African efforts largely on his own and with some help from his church. This is where Troy saw an opportunity to give back to John and help spread his Christian faith to a mostly Muslim population. A two for one score if you will. The Well Water for Africa Adventure Run was born and this is the inaugural year. 

The run was purposely made into an Adventure Run where you do not have a course to follow but instead have points to check in at. These points are located along trails and are easily accessible so you do not need to have orienteering skills. You don't even need to bring a compass for that matter. Just read the map that is given to you on race morning and pay attention during the pre-race announcements where a large map will be shown to help orient you as to where you are and where you should aim for on your map. 

Four distance choices are available, none of which are too difficult, 9.7 mi, 6.7 mi, 5.6 mi, 3.8 mi. All of the distances have 3 aid stations to check in at and the 9.7 mile "route" has a 4th location to check in at. These distances are approximated because you can choose which place to check in first, second & third. You can take any route you want to accomplish this task and the first person who does so is the winner. The real winner is the people of Africa who desperately need water (see video clip above).

This race is also unique in that teams are encouraged to sign up. The process is simple, everyone signs up as usual and the team captain sends Troy an email naming all of the members of the team. The team then runs the event together, showing up and getting signed off at each check point. This is an excellent team building event that company's, groups and organization's of all kinds could participate in and benefit from.

More info from the TCTRuns.com website:

My name is John Burnham. I am Troy's web master and maintain this web site. Troy has kindly offered to sponsor this event on behalf of the children on the island of Zanzibar who live in the poorest areas. I have been traveling to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2000. In the past 4 years, I have been going to Zanzibar on short term mission trips to drill water wells. There are now a total of 5 wells that are up and running and sustainable. I have partnered with people here to set up another NGO to focus on Well Water. This is filling a vital need. Women and school age children have to walk, sometimes for miles, for water. A 5 gal bucket of water weighs 41 lbs. This is hard work, it prevents those kids that carry water from going to school, and exposes the women to all kinds of dangers.
Well Water for Africa is a sponsored initiative by Endosan Charitable Enterprises, Inc a 401(3)(c) Non-Profit charitable organization. The projects for this initiative are carefully planned to have the most impact on the most vulnerable. Currently, we are focused on the Island of Zanzibar in the Country of Tanzania which is located in East Africa. The Department of education has allocated to CHaRA, our partnering organization, 61 schools in the Western rural school district of Zanzibar. 30 of these schools do not have clean water, or in some cases, any water, at their location.
The funds that are raised by this event will go towards the water projects in the school district. Each project costs from $8,000 to $10,000 and consists of a water well (usually around 150 feet deep), a solar powered pump, the solar panels, a 3,000 liter water tank, a tower for the water tank, a wash station with water faucets, and a clean up of the rest rooms.
We have already completed two of these projects. Each of the schools in the plan has from 800 to 1,400 students. Last year, CHaRA, the NGO that I have been working with, contacted TOMS shoes to see about shoe distribution in Zanzibar. The activity has been very successful. These water projects are carried out in conjunction with the distribution of TOMS shoes, education in basic hygiene, and a government run de-worming program. The TOMS shoe distribution program began last year. Each six months, shoes are distributed to the entire school district. So far there have been two distributions with a total of 80,000 pairs of shoes distributed.