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Updated: Run for Water hits the streets of Abbotsford
The seventh annual Run for Water hit the streets of Abbotsford on Sunday, with roughly 4,500 runners participating in a variety of distances ranging from five kilometres to a marathon.
"It's exhilarating," enthused Ken Baerg, chair of the organizing committee.
"We're proud that it's sort of become a marquee event for the city. It grew from pretty modest beginnings – 650 people we had in 2008, and we're in Year 7 now.
"It's pretty gratifying to see the growth and the profile of the event."
The greater purpose of the Run for Water is its fundraising to create clean water sources in Ethiopia via the Canadian non-profit agency HOPE International. The six previous iterations of the event had raised over $1 million for the cause, and this year's race added about $250,000 to that total – "staggering numbers" according to Baerg.
"Clean water is the root of sustenance and economic wellbeing for so many people, so it's a privilege to participate and try to make a difference globally," he said.
"It far surpasses anything we ever would have dreamed of. It's all due to people's generosity and lots of volunteer hours."
Run for Water marathon champions were Ryan Prachnau of Abbotsford (2:39:07) on the men's side and Rika Hatachi of Coquitlam (3:11:12) on the women's side.
David Jackson of Abbotsford won the men's half-marathon (1:08:16), and Vancouver's Lissa Zimmer (1:20:36) was the women's champ.
Jeremiah Johnston of Mission (32:52) and Abbotsford's Alex Siemens (38:46) were the 10K male and female winners, respectively, while the 5K champs were Weston Toppozini of Aldergrove (18:59) and Kara Wismer of Chilliwack (20:17).
The event also featured an ultra marathon (53 km), which was run on Saturday.
Among the highlights of the event was an epic performance by Peter Schofield, who ran all five Run for Water distances on Saturday – upwards of 130 km in a single day.
ABBOTSFORD NEWS LAUNCHES MOBILE PRODUCTION STUDIO
The Abbotsford News is now mobile, able to broadcast breaking news throughout the Abbotsford community from a live production studio.
Kevin MacDonald, videographer with The News, has hit the streets in a new vehicle, which operates as a mobile studio. He was on site at the Run for Water on Sunday morning.
The NewsHound1 is equipped with tools that allow MacDonald to stream live to the Internet from anywhere with cell access, or prepare edited videos to accompany The News' online coverage.
The studio has full editing capacity, allowing MacDonald to directly upload videos to abbynews.com, as well as the ability to switch between multiple live cameras feeds.
All this technology means The News can provide video from community activities or breaking news events.
The vehicle's signature look comes from a wrap installed by CM Signs and designed by The News.
"It's going to take mobile production to a whole new level in Abbotsford," said MacDonald.
"People want their news now, they want it instantaneously. If something is happening, they want to be able to go somewhere where they can see what is going on."