How Runners Can Make Their Steps Matter by Morgan Casey

Steps_Competition_Teaser-527x670It was early in the fall of 2013, and I was sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. After five months without running, my hip was still fractured and my competitive running days were over. My dreams, my lifestyle, and my identity went to dust. I always knew eventually my competitive running days would be over, but I never thought it would happen the way it did. I had unfinished business. The ultimate goal wasn’t to leave my mark in the records set or titles won, but to hang up my spikes knowing I had used my sport to make a positive impact on someone else. But at that point, even putting a smile on my own face took a lot of effort. I needed something to pull me out of self-pity and back into a place of hope and meaning. I found my something in the Ryan and Sara Hall Steps Foundation.

The Steps Foundation doesn’t just offer hope to broken down athletes. Steps has built hospitals and maternity clinics in parts of Africa where medical care is scarce, Steps has built clean water wells in Mozambique, and invested in ministries both domestic and abroad. When hope fades and there is a population in need, Steps jumps in to fill that need.

FullSizeRenderEthiopia, home to some of the world’s greatest distance runners, is also home to some of the world’s most needy. Of its 86 million inhabitants, only 42 percent of them have access to a clean and safe water source. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians die each year of waterborne diseases; most of them are children. As I sit in my office sipping water from a nearby sink, Ethiopia’s water crisis puts an entirely new meaning to the phrase “The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.”

Ryan and Sara Hall are working to answer these prayers in a truly wonderful way. Turning their sport into something positive, the two professional runners started The Steps Foundation five years ago, and they have never looked back.

Now, Ryan and Sara are inviting all young runners to use their sport as a means of helping others and taking a Step toward helping those in desperate need. By participating in The Steps Foundation’s first ever team fundraising event, high school and college track teams can make their steps matter by logging miles to fight poverty and bring clean water to Ethiopia.

Water pic of girl carrying waterBecause runners tend to be a competitive bunch, this fundraising opportunity includes a little friendly competition. The high school or college team that raises the most money for the cause will receive a visit from the man himself, Olympian and American record holder, Ryan Hall!

The eight week competition kicks off when Ryan crosses the finish line at the LA Marathon on March 15th, and it’s never too late to join! Getting involved is as simple as sending an email to mystepsmatter@thestepsfoundation.org. Steps volunteers will create your team fundraising page, where each member of your team will gather sponsors and log miles. For more details on the fundraiser, visit the Steps Foundation website Click Here!