COPENHAGEN — A 6-kilometer (3.7 miles) walk or run would tire anyone out.

That’s the average distance people in developing countries have to walk every day to collect water that is often unsafe to drink. To raise money to help fund water projects, a local World Vision Global 6K for Water was held Saturday, starting at Copenhagen Central School.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organizaton with a focus on helping children around the world, including the United States. These runs help fund its efforts of providing water to communities that lack easy access to clean water.

Copenhagen has been hosting a 6K for five years.

Leslie Sheldon, the event coordinator for Copenhagen, sets up jugs of water at the halfway point of the course.

“The walkers are able to carry the water back to symbolize the effort some people have to make to bring back water for their families,” Ms. Sheldon said.

Cheryl Steiner of Castorland finished first Saturday, Betsy Nicol of Copenhagen placed second, and Steven Scarlata of Copenhagen claimed third place.

Pastor Laurie Sponaugle of the First Presbyterian Church of Lowville, who chose to walk the distance, said, “I am very familiar with World Vision. I had helped at their distribution site at Pittsburgh when I lived there and pastored there. We take for granted the water that we have, so thinking about others and their need for water is important.”

World Vision 6K events were held all over the world on Saturday. In the United States there were 880 teams with more than 19,800 participants. Last year’s event was fully virtual due to the pandemic, and many participants chose to walk or run the distance on their own this year, too.

“Last year I participated virtually at home and it wasn’t the same,” Pastor Sponaugle said. “To come and be part of the group, there is something to it.”

Participants each wore a unique race bib featuring the name and photo of a child from Africa, Cambodia or Sri Lanka who will benefit from World Vision water projects. The children on the bibs also are available for sponsorship through World Vision.

The event had live music provided by Joseph Freeman of Lowville, The NNY DJ Guy. Mr. Freeman, who has sponsored a child through World Vision for three years, has been a regular part of this event.

“Leslie reached out in 2018 to ask me to volunteer my services,” Mr. Freeman said. “It’s always fun coming out.”

This year’s Copenhagen event had 69 participants and raised $3,523, an amount greater than any previous year, although it did fall shy of the team’s $5,000 goal.

The average cost for World Vision to provide lasting clean water to one person is $50.

According to Ms. Sheldon, across the country, more than $2.19 million was raised this year, which is enough to provide lasting clean water to more than 43,800 people.

The Copenhagen team is accepting donations until the end of June. Visit www.teamworldvision.org/team/copenhagen and click on “Support us.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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