Why I Run For the Thirsty With Team Living Water

By Rebecca Geck, Team Living Water athlete

Globally, women and children spend 200 million hours every day collecting water (unwater.org). 200 million hours! Hours of work, of education. All lost to obtain life’s most basic need.

Having access to safe water is crucial. It’s the foundation from which we build our lives. If you have any doubts, take a few minutes to walk through your daily life without it. How would it limit your capacity to earn a living or get an education?

Without safe water, community development initiatives fail. They just don’t work because basic needs haven’t been met. That is what attracted me to the work of Living Water International and, of course, Team Living Water.

I’ve participated in the Chevron Houston Marathon or Aramco Half Marathon nearly every year since 2010—the year I was introduced to Living Water. The 2011 Marathon was the first time I laid eyes on those beautiful, bright yellow Team Living Water jerseys! I’ve pretty much been a part of the team ever since.

Team Living Water is a team of inclusion and belonging. We have teammates from all walks of life with all levels of running experience. Every year, marathon veterans and 5K novices come together for a common cause.

We raise awareness and money to help empower communities around the globe, all while training to reach our personal goals. For 18 weeks, we set our alarms early (almost) every Saturday; we chat, we pray, and then we run.

Rebecca Geck and two other Team Living Water runners prepare for the 2019 Chevron Houston Marathon.

The comradery keeps me coming back year after year. This team makes training fun. That may be hard to believe, but it’s true. The atmosphere motivates me to do my best, while being a safe space where I can show up just as I am. Whether I’m at my strongest or my weakest, fastest or slowest, I’m supported all the same. 

I’m recovering from some injuries this year, so the full and half aren’t on the table. I’ve been a competitive athlete my entire life, and being told I need rest was hard to accept. Instead I signed up for the We Are Houston 5K, since not participating in race weekend wasn’t an option.

Slowing down and having restrictions placed on my activity uncovered how deeply I care about the team. I’d prefer to walk the 5K than to miss out on a training season with the team. I want to be there to cheer them on during every long run of the season, spend time with them at team brunches, and celebrate their accomplishments at the finish line. 

This team has become my extended family. We share our struggles and encourage one another. My teammates inspire me. We have marathon veterans who have hit the pavement for 10+ training seasons, and we have Living Water Trips alumni who have witnessed communities experience safe water for the very first time.

I cannot overstate the beauty and impact of having both. The runners keep the team healthy, while the trip alumni paint our vision and keep us inspired to endure so that thirsty people won’t have to endure life without water.

We are just a group of people using our talents and fitness goals to help others around the world. One well at a time, women and children are gaining back time to invest in themselves, their families, and their communities. Participating and fundraising with Team Living Water is one small way I contribute.

If you’re interested in joining Team Living Water, you can learn more here.

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