More than 1,600 Expected to Run Part of $1.6 Million Fundraising Campaign
Former Sudan Lost Boy & U.S. Olympian Lopez Lomong On Hand to Support Team World Vision Runners All Part of Effort to Help African Children Living in Poverty
CHICAGO, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Team World Vision, a fundraising arm for international Christian charity World Vision, is bringing their largest number ever to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this weekend in Chicago. Team World Vision hopes to raise $1.6 million after Sunday's 26.2 mile race ($3 million this fiscal year). Funds help provide clean water in African countries like Kenya and South Sudan. Team World Vision is the largest charity team in the Chicago Marathon. A total of 45,000 runners are expected to run in the event.
On Saturday night, U.S. Olympian and former Sudan Lost Boy Lopez Lomong will address Team World Vision runners, sharing his inspirational story.
At six, Lopez was kidnapped from his Sudan village and held captive as he was being prepped as a child soldier. Too small to undergo training, his fate would most likely have been starvation. But he escaped and after running three days and nights, he was captured by Kenyan troops and brought to a refugee camp where Lopez lived for 10 years. He was brought to this country by a U.S. family and soon discovered how fast he was. In 2008, Lomong qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the men's 1,500 meters. He was voted by his teammates as the flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies. In August, Lomong competed in his second Summer Games in London, this time in the 5,000 meter where he finished tenth. Lomong says, "I learned a lot in that race. I'll be back in four years, smarter and stronger. I'll be back"
Other runners include former NHL star Jim Nill who's running with more than 250 from his Detroit-area church, most who've never run a marathon in their lives. This will be Jim's first marathon as well. Nill's wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had hoped to run with Jim. Now she'll be there for moral, emotional and spiritual support.
Finally, there's Houston's Mike Mantel, who will join his daughter in the 26 mile race. Mantel is an international water advocate who's also running to raise money and clean water awareness. Mantel says he's proud to run alongside the charity runners from Team World Vision, the largest charity team in the Chicago Marathon. In fact, Mantel led the group that created Team World Vision, during his tenure there. "Running for a cause makes it so much easier to get through tough training days," he says.
Lopez Lomong has a new book entitled "Running For My Life" (Thomas Nelson Publisher) http://www.thomasnelson.com/running-for-my-life.html
Team World Vision: http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR?px=1209501&fr_id=1790&pg=personal
The Impact: World Vision child sponsorship programs establish sustainable, long-lasting programs in the world's most impoverished regions. A $35/month commitment helps provide clean water, improve agricultural conditions and provides educational opportunities for children and their communities.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicate to working with children, families and their communities worldwide by tacking the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information please visit worldvision.org
SOURCE World Vision U.S.