Athletes run for running water

A group of athletes running around the world to raise money to help provide clean drinking water in poor parts of the world was in England this week.

Actress Hilary Swank and supporters at the launch of the run

Actress Hilary Swank and supporters at the launch of the run

The team of athletes undertaking the Blue Planet Run crossed Wales and England on Wednesday and Thursday on an epic journey aimed at raising awareness of the issue.

Jin Zidell, Blue Planet Run Foundation founder and chairman, said: "The global water crisis is one of massive proportions. But there is a solution - and that solution begins with a step.

"The 2007 Blue Planet Run team will literally deliver the message of safe drinking water around the globe, through some of the world's most rugged terrain, to reach communities in need while educating people about how they can help make a difference."

The multi-national team of 20 athletes including one Briton set off from New York last Friday, June 1 to circumnavigate the northern hemisphere.

Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank hosted the official launch event at the United Nations headquarters.

She said: "Most of us will never have to worry about access to clean water, but it is a life and death struggle for many people around the world.

"The Blue Planet Run is remarkable because of its unique approach to raising awareness and funds."

The team members aged 23 to 60 will run in ten-mile relay shifts 24-hours a day, seven days a week, covering 15,200 miles and crossing 16 countries on four continents to finish back in New York on September 4.

More than one billion people lack safe drinking water, according to the Water Supply and Sanitation Council.

Nearly 2.2 million people, most of them children, die each year due to diseases related to unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

Water-related illnesses are the single greatest cause of human sickness and death worldwide.

The Blue Planet Run Foundation funds projects to provide clean water in rural communities. For more details or to donate visit website

David Gibbs



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