Ultra-endurance athlete running through Greene County to raise money for drinking water

Ultra-endurance athlete running through Greene County to raise money for drinking water

Each of these physical feats has been for the purpose of raising money to help get people without clean water a vital resource. Her challenges have raised enough money to help 25,000 people get clean water in Haiti, India, Guatemala, Nigeria and other communities. Spotz has also run across three states, including running 138 miles in 33 hours across Maine. Spotz is a Cleveland native and currently in the Coast Guard stationed near Portland, Maine.

Spotz said she found out about the water crisis when she was in college in Australia. There was a drought there. At that same time, she had a professor who said the wars of the future will be fought over water.

“Not bad for running around in circles,” she joked.

“It was just this new awareness of a resource that I always took for granted,” Spotz said. “The more I found out, I was pretty shocked about the severity of the issue, but then also very encouraged because it’s an issue that has solutions. With water, there are proven solutions and they aren’t even that expensive. So I love water because water affects everything. It affects health, education, women’s empowerment. All parts of life can be helped through this one foundational need.”

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Spotz said she has been doing these challenges for about a decade, but she started as a “bench warmer.”

“I was trying to take the easiest gym class I could possibly find. And that ended up with being a walking/running class and I was expecting to put the minimal effort in. But I figured I’m already here, I might as well try to run one mile straight. It was just kind of a personal challenge to see if I could do it,” Spotz said. “The thing about if you sit on the bench for long enough, you start to believe it’s because you belong there, so I never thought I could even run one mile.”

“On average it’s about $50 that could get one person access to clean water, so I hope people feel encouraged to know that it doesn’t take much to make a difference,” Spotz said. “It’s an investment into a better world.”

Her latest challenge aims to raise $34,100 to fund 11 clean water projects for Ugandan schools through a partnership with nonprofit H2O for Life. Spotz said she has done challenges to support H20 for Life for about four years.

This is her first challenge doing an activity day after day — usually she runs or rows miles all at one time. While she is running for a good cause, the running doesn’t always feel good, Spotz said.

“I could be feeling on cloud nine having a runner’s high and then an hour later, just be in a funk and just feel like my legs are bricks,” Spotz said. “It’s a huge unknown and even now, every race, every adventure is unique to the next. Even though I’ve done a lot of adventures, I’ve done them enough to know that you never really know until you’re out there doing it what’s going to happen.”

To track her progress, visit water.katiespotz.com.

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