There’s an African proverb that says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ Well, I’ve gone about as far as I can alone. The next 25 days of #RunningDry are all about collective action.
Today is marathon 75: an epic milestone for the #RunningDry campaign. And also the day my doctors gave me the news I was hoping never to hear: I ran so hard I broke my leg.
On the flight from South Africa to Australia I developed excruciating pain in my leg, honestly the most painful experience of my life. So when I landed in Sydney, I went straight to hospital to get my leg checked out. All the x-rays and doctors and specialists all say the same thing - my femur is now broken through, and I cannot put any weight on it at all.
I’ve been so focused on finishing #RunningDry on my own two feet, and now I’ve been told that is categorically impossible. I’m still in shock. But my family here in Melbourne is looking after me, wiping my tears, and helping me to stay focused on the positives.
Photos: Kelvin Trautman
I think I’ve been in denial about how hard I have been pushing myself physically. When we were in India, and I first started experiencing leg pain, our friend Ram would say to me “ It’s Body first; Mind second; and Campaign third.” At the time, I thought this was completely upside down. I was completely prepared to push my body to any extreme if it meant people would pay attention to what we were saying about the water crisis. Now, I see the wisdom in what Ram was saying. Body first.
As sad as I am about this turn of events, there’s also reason to celebrate. #RunningDry is about using the sport of running to get people around the world to pay attention to the water crisis happening around us. The best thing that has happened since I got injured is the community coming together. Honestly, I am so humbled and inspired by the reactions from the #RunningDry community. The kilometres being donated every day from around the world keep pouring in, and that means the water message keeps spreading.
We’ve been asked over and over again if we’re going to do a #RunningDry marathon and I can now confirm we are!
The global #RunningDry marathon for the global water crisis is on Sunday 27th January 2019. We want to get 100 marathons in 1 day logged for water. All over the world. Our biggest day so far has been 1866km (44 marathons) and now we’re aiming for 4220km - more than double. But we can do it! Together, we can do it.
We’re keeping it as simple and straightforward as possible: if you’re going to take part, you can share on social media beforehand so that your friends know about it and can join you. And then on the day, simply run or walk a marathon (or part of a marathon) and log your distance on social media with the hashtag #RunningDry. You can also share water facts and infographics from here: the whole point of this is to spread awareness of the global water crisis as far and wide as possible.
Photos: Kelvin Trautman
It’s funny to reach a milestone like marathon 75/100 - I’ve been thinking back to when I started (Day 1 at the New York City marathon) and running along the River Thames talking about food waste. That was only in November, but it feels like years ago! We’ve been telling water stories from France and Italy, Uzbekistan and the Aral Sea, and all over India. This global water crisis really does stretch to every corner of the globe. And I really believe that once you understand something like the cost of cotton, it makes you think twice before making any decisions that involve water… Which means all our decisions, because there is invisible water contained in every aspect of our lives. I will never forget what we saw in Jordan: the devastating water scarcity, and the stories of hope. And our experience in Beaufort West in South Africa, where the taps literally ran dry, will stay with me forever.
We may be 75 marathons into 100, but now that #RunningDry is a movement - a movement that is gaining momentum every single day - I can’t wait to see how this global community of water savers changes the world.