The most valuable commodity in the world is water. “And over 70 percent of the world’s population has a scarcity of clean water,” explained Jeff Rock in discussing the Run 4 Clean Water Kenya-7-Miler/5K Walk-Run set for Saturday, Aug. 27, in Waynesboro.
Rock, director of the race, is president of Clean Water Kenya, which provides 1.8 to 2 million gallons of water daily to rural Maasai and Kampo villages in the Great Rift Valley and northeast Kenya.
The non-profit foundation also provides an educational program that focuses on water hygiene and waste management and sanitation.
The Waynesboro native got involved in the foundation six years ago after talking with its founder, Ken Clark, an employee of Rock’s when they worked for a firm that delivered supplies in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2012.
“He (Clark) went with his church in Ligonier on a mission trip to Kenya in 2013 and saw a need for these people to have clean water,” according to Rock. “He started to look for ways and things he could do to make this happen. They (the people) can’t dig wells—they implode because the ground is too soft—so he started looking for a process to help clean the water once it was obtained.”
The result was the purchase from a Kenyan manufacturer of simple, easy-to-maintain portable water filtration systems that cleanse the local drinking water of the bacteria that causes typhoid, cholera, amoebic dysentery, salmonella, E.coli, botulism, and other pathogens that are deadly to the Maasai.
“They provide a family with clean water for five years sourced from rainfall or what runs off the huts. They also get water from streams, but sometimes they are miles from where the people live,” added Rock.
The foundation also purchased rain barrels to collect rainwater that are distributed two or three times a year to schools and medical clinics the foundation supports as funds are raised, he said.
About the race
“The first race for Clean Water Kenya was held in Allentown and we took a break for COVID in 2021. Then we decided to change the venue and I volunteered Waynesboro as an option,” according to Rock. “Three miles of the race are in town and then for 4 miles participants will travel through three parks – Renfrew, Memorial and Otterbein.”
Registration the day of the race will be held from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. on Center Square in Waynesboro. The 7-miler starts at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K walk/run starts at 7:45 a.m. “We encourage early packet pick up, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 25 and 26, at Waynesboro YMCA, 810 E. Main St.,” Rock noted.
The fee is $35 if registered by Sat, Aug. 13, including a T-shirt and race kit. After that, registration for each race is $45 while shirts last and $40 when shirts are no longer available.
Online registration is available at: www.pretzelcitysports.com
Race registration is limited to 500 participants. All runners will receive a finisher medal. There will be cash awards for the top three male and female finishers and top male and female masters (40 and older). Medals will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in various age groups.
A virtual option also is available. “You can run your own race wherever you like. You will still get a T-shirt and help support our efforts. The cost is $40 with a shirt and $45 for a shirt and medal shipped to your home,” Rock added.
Part of the race will include the “Karanga Challenge” where a runner on the 7-mile course will pick up a gallon jug of water at the 3.5 mile point and carry it to the finish line to replicate the distance and efforts Kenyans go to in order to get clean water, Rock said.
For more information, contact Rock at 717-387-1746 or [email protected]
For more information about Clean Water Kenya, visit: http://www.cleanwaterkenya.com