Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Running to End the Runs....

Here are some toilet facts: (funny and serious…)

  • The odds are 1 out of 10,000 that you will get injured by a toilet this year

  • On average, people with access to toilets, spend 3 years of their lives on the toilet

  • Not having a toilet kills 2 million people a year…mostly kids

  • Most toilets flush in the key of e-flat

  • Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, but he perfected the siphon flush system we use today

  • 2.6 billion people don’t have a toilet

  • The film Psycho was the first film to show a scene involving a toilet flushing

  • The toilet is flushed more times during Super Bowl halftime than any other time of the year

  • Having a toilet has a greater health impact than clean water alone

  • The longest poo ever recorded was produced by an American over a period of 2 hours and 12 minutes and officially measured 12ft 2 inches!

  • About 1/3 of Americans flush the toilet while still sitting on it

Running for water is in. A gaggle of celebrities just climbed Kilimanjaro to promote awareness of the clean water crisis. This April, in hundreds of cities around the world, runners will take to the streets for a 10 km global race (the average distance a woman in a developing country walks to collect water from a dirty source) to raise money and awareness of the water crisis. Nobody runs for toilets.

I bet every person reading this has had the runs at some point in their lives. But with some rehydrating electrolyte drink and a comfortable private toilet, what kills kids overseas is reduced to an uncomfortable afternoon for the rest of us. The statistics are too overwhelming to comprehend-2.6 billion people shit in the open, the crowded city streets, or a toilet that is about to collapse. Lack of sanitation-a private, comfortable, sturdy place-to take care of number one and number two-results in 2 million people dying each year. Girls literally drop out of school when they start menstruating if there is no safe place to take care of their sanitary needs. Being a snake-hater myself, I cannot imagine the daily realities of women from Mozambique to Venezuela who risk snakebite just trying to take care of business. On the flip side, the presence of a toilet, can reduce the runs by up to 35%-which is higher than any water investment alone. It’s actually quite simple-keeping poop out of drinking water sources by building toilets or keeping it off the floor where toddlers play, means less people running to nowhere when they’ve got to go.

So, starting this April, we are going to take 2010 and Run to End the Runs. We’re running for toilets. Not sexy, not hip, but needed. Basically, we will run 1 or 2 marathons (or equivalent distance) per month until the end of the year. The goal is to complete 12 marathons by December 31, 2010 and raise at least $26,200 (a marathon is 26.2 miles so roughly $1,000 for every mile of a marathon) to help support the sanitation projects Water For People ( ) works on around the world. Water For People is doing amazing work with small toilet businesses- a “pee-conomic recovery” of sorts. Supporting small toilet businesses creates jobs and ensures that long after a single project ends, households wanting toilets can find a local entrepreneur to provide one.

Since we are based in South America, our goal will be to run several of these marathons in the regions or the communities in which Water For People supports. Therefore, we will run the highlands of Bolivia, the deserts and mountains of Peru, the tropical areas of Ecuador, Nicaragua and Honduras (political uprising-dependent) and fill in the gaps as necessary with runs (not the bathroom type, although that is always a possibility as well down here) in other South American and US locations. Our inaugural marathon will be April 11 in Santiago followed quickly by the Lima marathon here in Peru on May 2.

In the meantime, spread the word to your friends and families and read more about our fundraising project or donate at . You can also follow our run reports here on our blog.

Thanks and please pass this on…

Matt and Kate

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