In 2012 athlete-philanthropist David Chrištof ran unsupported from Prague to London to raise money for safe drinking water for an orphanage in Uganda. This week he set out on a 3000 km run from Prague to Morocco to bring attention to the world water crisis and raise more money for people not fortunate enough to have this basic necessity.
Marathon runner David Chrištof got an enthusiastic send-off from his pupils and colleagues as he set off on his 3,000 kilometer journey from the German school in Prague where he teaches. He will be on the road for 63 days, alternating between running and biking. He plans to stop at 30 schools along the way to talk to children about the world water crisis and raise awareness of the fact that over one billion people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water.
“I want to make people aware of the problem, of the fact that 6,000 people die every single day because they lack access to safe drinking water. That’s 2 million people a year and not very many people in this part of the world know about it. So I want to bring this home to some three thousand children on my way between Prague and Morocco.”
The 33-year old teacher has been running daily since his teens and has already run 21 marathons and 13 ultra-marathons. He will now be running and biking through Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain to reach his destination, covering approximately 30 kilometers a day on foot and 80 to 120 on his bike. Ahead of Monday’s start he told Czech Television that although preparations for the journey had taken up a few months he was once again running unsupported, simply pushing a stroller with all his essentials.
“I’ll be running to Domažlice and then hop on my bike and head for Munich and then run another stretch and alternate every five days or so. There is no accompanying vehicle. I am not taking much with me. I have three pairs of shoes with me but I only plan to use two – one pair for biking and the other for running.”
David Chrištof started running for charity in 2007 after hearing about a Blue Planet Network charity run around the world. He immediately volunteered to join and was one of twenty runners selected. He completed the run covering 15,200 miles in 95 days - to raise money and awareness for the NGO. Since then he not looked back. Recently he started organizing his own runs – now sponsored by the German school in Prague but he continues to cooperate closely with Blue Planet Network as regards finances. He remains their goodwill ambassador and all donations in aid of his runs go directly to a safe Blue Planet Network that funds clean water projects around the world. He says he has no say in how the money he raises is used but he is confident it will be put to the best possible advantage.
Asked about the response to his charity marathons here in the Czech Republic the athlete says he is winning over more and more people with every new run.
“To tell the truth most people – and that includes my students and colleagues and even my own family and friends – are either skeptical or wildly enthusiastic. So they either tell me I’m completely crazy or else they think it is a great idea and very inspiring. But I think that with my London run last year I convinced many of the skeptics. They may still think I’m crazy but they acknowledge what I did and many people are far more supportive now than they were say a year ago.“
David Chrištof’s London run was timed to coincide with the London Olympics and received quite a lot of publicity. London at the height of the summer Olympics was not just a perfect destination for a charity run but reflected his own philosophy of how to achieve physical and mental well-being. The proceeds of the run amounted to 12,000 US dollars used to finance the building of a well that brought clean water to 700 children in an orphanage in rural Uganda. On his way he would stop to talk to people explaining what the run was in aid of and how they could contribute to the cause, urging them to pass on the message to others. He says that after the success of the London marathon he was ready for a new, bigger challenge and Africa seemed like the ideal destination. If everything goes according to plan he should be back in late June just before his pupils at the German school in Prague break up for the summer holidays.
“I have everything worked out down to the smallest detail. So I know where I will be every given day and my return to Prague is scheduled for June 26th. I timed that intentionally in order to be back before the summer break. I want the kids to see that I accomplished my goal. I want to be able to tell them all about it, and answer all their questions regarding the charity project and how it will help.”
According to Blue Planet Network the money raised with David Chrištof's 2013 Prague to Africa run will be used to further improve sanitary conditions at the St. Bonaventura orphanage in Uganda. It should pay for a new gravity-fed tap system that will remove the need to carry water in unsanitary jugs giving the locals access to a source of safe, sustainable water.
The popularity of charity runs in the Czech Republic is growing. Last year 400 students from the French school in Prague joined a charity race the proceeds of which went to build a school in Ethiopia and just this week over 2,000 people took part in a night charity run in Prague’s Stromovka to raise money for sightless athletes.