My Half-Marathon: Accomplishment Meets Altruism

I finished! I survived my second half-marathon! It wasn’t faster than last year’s, but it wasn’t slower, either. Hey, at least I’m consistent, right?

I ran for Hope Water Project, a clean-water initiative that raises money through races (like the Detroit Marathon and Half-marathon, the Grand Rapids Marathon, the Disney Marathon and ODRAM) to dig wells in the Pokot region of Kenya. The Pokot people, over a million strong, have to walk over four hours a day to find water that isn’t clean at all. (If you saw it you’d want to…well, for starters, stop looking at it.) When a well is dug for a Pokot community, life is breathed into it; churches and schools are built and the Kenyan government sends teachers to the schools because the area has a sustainable source of clean water.

It’s amazing what something as small as clean water—something we take for granted—can transform an entire community. And not just physically, but spiritually, too.

I ran the Detroit half-marathon last year because, honestly, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. That’s pretty much all it boils down to. It was something I thought I could never do, so I wanted to achieve it for my own physical and mental health. In short, I did it for the sake of the accomplishment.

And I didn’t really want to run another one. But when I found out the full story of Hope Water Project, I knew I had to run again. I already knew the physical pain and mental challenge it was going to be, but it wasn’t just about me anymore. It was about the Pokot. If they could walk four hours a day, I could run three hours in one day for the good of someone else. So I did. (I say that with much more ease than I got up with on Sunday morning.) It was another accomplishment, but this time, it was altruistic. And not just for me, but for everyone who supported and donated to my HWP run. Thank you!

Psst! There’s still time to donate——my Hope Water Project run is still open for donations until November 15. Donate here

Now, on the other side of my Hope Water Project run, I’m really glad I did it. It felt good to be part of something bigger than myself. Of something in which I know God is working. Of something bigger than the local church. But of something God is using local church people to do.

It got me thinking about altruism and how I’ve seen my generation eagerly jump on large altruistic causes like Hope Water Project than our predecessors. Not that the older generations haven’t given back—they certainly have! But it just looks different: Millennials are quicker to join bigger, social justice-type causes like Hope Water Project, World Vision, Compassion International, A21, the ENDIT movement, and the Purpose Hotel even if their primary goal is to simply meet a physical need. This is an interesting generational shift, and I think it has many layers…too many for a short blog post like this one. But I like it.

This is something I’m proud of for my generation.

So now I’m curious and I want to hear your thoughts. What are you proud of for your generation? Leave a comment below!

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