An Abbotsford long-distance runner smashed his initial goal of raising $500 for Run for Water, bringing in more than $100,000.
Kevin Barata, one of the Run for Water race directors, decided to challenge himself on May 29 by running 100 miles (160 kilometres) up and down Ledgeview trails – a distance greater than the elevation of Mt. Everest.
“I’m super grateful, super thankful for the generosity of the community,” Barata said. “People are supporting a cause that is so far removed from Abbotsford, Ethiopia is a distant land.
“I didn’t know what to expect, because COVID-19 has hit everyone differently and a lot of people have been affected financially. I almost felt kind of bad even asking people to donate.”
Run for Water’s road and trail races were cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was replaced by the Alone Together event, a virtual and more social-distance friendly format.
These road and trail races brought in over $1 million in 2019, and the Alone Together event was meant to substitute the race’s fundraising. An anonymous group of generous donors matched their total funds.
But Barata said he didn’t expect his side project to also have its total matched by the group of anonymous donors. Their help bought his amount raised to over $100,000.
A single lap up and down the trails is around 5 kilometres. To achieve the 100 miles he had to do 32 laps, exceeding his previous record of 20.
Lepp Farm Market pledged $500 for every lap, and Barata also received donations from friends, family and complete strangers.
Run for Water is an an organization helping supply impoverished Ethiopian communities with fresh water. Barata, who travelled to Ethiopia with his wife in 2017, said it was an eye-opening experience.
“It can’t help but have life changing impact on you, and it certainly did in our case,” he said. “The work that Run for Water is doing is really, really changing lives. Every single penny that’s raised goes back into those rural villages.”