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Saving lives in the long run

Roy Wiegand not only ran 100 miles, but is also cycling 100 miles to raise money for charity

June 18, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com

It wasn't enough that Roy Wiegand endured a climb in altitude of almost 12,000 feet on a grueling 100-mile road run from the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura to Mt. Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest.

But he's taking on a second tough challenge, embarking on a trek along the same rout, this time by way of bicycle.

Some might call the 47-year-old crazy. Some might say that he is a glutton for punishment. But the reason why Wiegand put his body through 200 miles of athletic torture is not for some personal glory or ultimate fitness challenge. Instead, he did it all in the name of charity.

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Wiegand, who accomplished the 100-mile run May 18-19 and took off on the 100-mile bicycle leg today, is raising funds for a cause that he holds dear: bringing safe drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries.

"What really kept me going on the run was … it's kind of a long day, yes, but at least I don't have to walk 10 miles a day every morning to fill up some jugs for drinking water," Wiegand said. "That kind of put things in perspective for me."

Wiegand's charity is Lifewater International, which has worked to bring clean water, health and wholeness to impoverished communities around the globe. It has provided sustainable sources of clean water to more than 2,000,000 people. Through its multiplication strategy, it has trained thousands of individuals in Africa, Asia and Latin America to improve the well being of their people through water development and its accompanying work in sanitation and hygiene education.

He said he first became involved in the charity through this church, Salem Lutheran in Glendale, under the direction of Pastor Kurt Christensen.

'It is really a great charity," Wiegand said. "And with clean water, it's unbelievable how that completely changes some of these places and really cuts down on the diseases. To have clean water is a basic necessity that we absolutely take for granted here."

On the first day of the run, Wiegand began at 6:30 a.m. and ran almost nonstop until 11:13 p.m., covering 82 miles. Alongside him was a group of dedicated individuals, who not only to motivated him, but they also helped keep him nourished, ran with him and were there to administer any medical help.

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