Nate and Whitney Hutchison
Church Planters to New Zealand
Class of 2002
By Kyle Chancellor Staff writer of The Gallup Independent of Gallup, New Mexico
For most people, the thought of running 100 marathons in 100 days sounds impossible. But for one Michigan man, it’s just another day at the office. Daren Wendell (KCU Class of 2003) has been likened to the character Forest Gump by many, and not without good reason. For the past 11 years, he has been participating in long distance endurance events across the country. In 2009, Wendell with friend Amie Hadaway, founded the organization Active Water, an organization whose goal was to use the athletic lifestyle to raise money to bring clean water around the world. And since 2009, Wendell has biked as well as walked across the country, hiked the Appalachian trail, swam 50 miles across lake Michigan, completed the Ironman Challenge as well as many other marathons and half marathons; all in the name of fundraising for clean water.
In 2014, Wendell’s organization joined forces with Lifewater International, a Christian organization that has been bringing clean water to impoverished areas since 1977. The combination of organizations have helped bring water to communities in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Uganda and Cambodia. This current campaign will raise money to help people in Ethiopia. Despite all of his past experience, his latest endeavor hasn’t been a walk in the park. “I started training two years ago for this,” said Wendell as he sat resting in his team travel trailer in the Red Rock campground Saturday evening after his 30 mile run and a quick jaunt up Pyramid Rock. Before even beginning his current cross country attempt, Wendell completed over 3,800 miles in training, sometimes running 40 miles each evening after work.
But now, he feels strong and is improving. “After the first few days, I was just so exhausted. But now it’s better. I am getting stronger every day.” As he talks about the miles he’s passed and the people he’s met along the way, Wendell stops to say that even though the run is impressive, the miles aren’t what is important. “This run will benefit Ethiopia for a lifetime,” Wendell says. The goal of $100,000 will go directly to providing clean water and sanitation for 2,500 individuals in Ethiopia. But where Lifewater differs from other organizations is the way that they go about providing clean water for the people they help. Rather than buying fancy, expensive water purifying gadgets that are complicated to operate and often break down after implementation, Lifewater has pioneered the idea of teaching the native people how to clean and sanitize their water, as well as proper hygiene techniques. These processes are put into place in hopes of helping people not just for a while, but for the rest of their lives. Wendell will continue his run until April 10, when he hopes to end the event in Times Square in New York City with 100 marathons run in 100 days, $100,000 raised and 2,500 lives changed for a lifetime.
To support Daren and his clean water initiative for Ethiopia visit www.rundarenrun.com