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Nearly 200 runners laced up their shoes and took part in a 5k this past Saturday, raising funds for the establishment of installation systems providing clean water to the people of Honduras.
Hosted by the nonprofit organizations Hands 4 Others, Campus Crusade for Christ (or Cru), and the Christian campus group Real Life, the race began promptly at 10 a.m. by the lagoon dock, where blue and white balloons marked the beginning of the race route. Co-founder of H4O Spencer Dusebout led the runners in a shout of “Be the Generation!” before the runners took off around the lagoon.
The run raised a total of over $3,000 from registration costs, and according to Program Director of Hands 4 Others Casey O’Toole, all of the proceeds will go toward water projects in Honduras.
“One hundred percent of our donations go to our water systems. We don’t have a whole lot of overhead or advertising,” O’Toole said. “We’re a very grass-roots, organic organization.”
The make-up of the runners was mostly students and members of Real Life, although a few other participants came to support the campus and their friends. According to Christina Marshall, a UCSB alumni and intern for Cru, the run was important to members of Cru and Real Life because it allowed them to simultaneously support a cause they believed in and share their faith with other students.
“We partnered with Hands 4 Others because we really care about bringing love to the world and wanting to engage other students with it,” Marshall said. “We want to build a really good camaraderie with the campus.”
Michael Hernandez, a second-year undeclared major and member of Real Life, was excited for the event because it had a genuine cause behind it and had a lot of fun with it as well.
“It’s always great when a race has a great cause behind it,” Hernandez said. “I’ve done a few races, and when you get all the people together, it’s really fun as a group thing too.”
Natasha Peat, a second-year communication and global studies double major and another member of Real Life, was equally eager to support the fight for universal access to clean water.
“In high school, I went to an American school in Taiwan, and my high school was really involved in supporting clean water,” Peat said. “Coming here, I was like, ‘This is something I supported for years before. I can get back into it again.’”
Event organizers waited for runners at the finish line with food, refreshments and goody bags filled with items from sponsors such as Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks and KeVita, which sells coconut probiotic drinks. There was also music, a raffle and booths for sponsors including student Connor Davidge’s start-up clothing brand “Savidg3,” which donated a portion of each sale to the H4O project.
H4O will host its annual Walk for Water in Downtown Santa Barbara this spring. The event saw 500 participants and raised $50,000 last year. O’Toole hopes to raise twice that this year.
Photo Courtesy of Hands 4 Others