What Does Building a Pipeline for Clean Water Have to Do With Running?
This article was contributed by Sara Arthur in support on Impact Marathon Series.
A rural village on the outskirts of the bustling, temple-filled capital of Kathmandu, Kakani epitomizes the challenges that poverty carves on to the face of Nepal.
As you travel up the mountains to Kakani, you are immediately faced with roads. Far from being enablers of travel, these roads can be impassable during monsoons and the very short distances regularly take over 2 hours. The town is the home of the Nepal International Marathon, the first of the Impact Marathon Series races aimed at creating social change through the power of running.
The international participants spend a week living in the pop-up Athlete's Village and, most importantly, working with the local community to create a lasting legacy for the country. By working directly with the village, IMS becomes a buoyant platform and catalyst for community issues rather than a director. This platform was offered to the villagers as a means to tackle the pressing needs and through the discussions, one desperate need was raised time and time again.
During monsoons Nepal has a good water supply, but the drought months are hard. When winter comes, pipes that lie above the ground regularly freeze, meaning the town is starved of water.
In recent months a water tank had been built for the community - but with no supply to fill it. Our athletes at Impact Marathon got stuck into this project with care and enthusiasm. The whole village turned up to help - with the Nepali women in particular leading the way and digging ferociously up at the front. In 2 days more than 150 people dug up the earth, and laid down 4km of the 5km pipeline.
In the week after the race, the final 1km was laid and the tank began to fill.
The problem was obvious, the solution was simple. The process was just as simple but sometimes all that is needed is a catalyst. The Impact Marathon Series is exactly this - a group of runners coming together with the community, swiftly tackling the problems at the heart of the country.
This is the first legacy of the Impact Marathon Series.
Next up, in just three months the team is in Colombia to work with the community in Santa Marta as they build the foundations of peace.
There are still places for Global Citizens to unite in the Impact Week and be part of the movement. We would love you to join us.