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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Border-to-border run promotes awareness of water

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Photo)
Greg Armstrong poses in front of a water filtration system developed by his students at Friendship Christian School.
(Submitted photo)
Greg Armstrong, who teaches science at Friendship Christian School in Wilson County, has two passions: running, and bringing clean water to the world.

He will bring the two together on Saturday by running north across Tennessee, from the Alabama border to the Kentucky border, along U.S. 231. He will begin at the stroke of midnight and expects to pass through Shelbyville approximately 5:30 or 6 a.m. He intends to complete the grueling, 120-mile run in 24 hours. He will be followed by a support vehicle with food and hydration.

Worldwide, a staggering 1.2 billion people don't have access to clean water, and 4,000 children die each day from preventable, water-related illnesses.

The initial point of the run was to raise awareness, but a fund-raising component has been added as well. Armstrong has created a non-profit group called Run4Water to promote bringing clean water to the world. The idea -- and the name -- were inspired by a group called Hiking4Water. Tire & Muffler USA on North Main Street is one of Armstrong's sponsors and has literature about the run as well.

Mainly, though, Armstrong wants people to think about water -- not only in Third World countries but here at home, where watershed preservation and water conservation have become increasingly important. Armstrong said that he hopes anyone who hears about his trip will think about water issues as they do their daily walk or run.

The average person in an impoverished country must walk four miles to obtain clean water.

In many countries, people must walk -- or run -- long distances to be able to find clean water. Armstrong discussed statistics about the world's need for water with his students. Their first response was to raise money to dig a well in Africa, but they eventually wanted to become involved in a more concrete fashion than just raising money. Some went with him on a mission trip. The next year, they wanted to design a water filtration system.

(Photo)
Armstrong and one of his students work on the water filtration system.
(Submitted photo)
"That's kind of a neat progression," he said.

Earlier this month, Armstrong took 17 students -- some of whom gave up a senior trip to Florida -- to Honduras to install three water filtration systems.

"Every time I go, I've got students," he said.

While Armstrong is making is border-to-border run, some of his students will be set up at a health fair in Lebanon helping to spread the clean-water message.

Learn more

For more information about the run, and about how to contribute to the effort, contact Greg Armstrong at (615) 642-6863 or e-mail garmstrong@fcsweb.net.