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Steve Spear: Re-purposed Pastor Begins Trek April 8

March 28, 2013

Chicago Pastor Leaves Santa Monica in About a Week

Plans to Run Five Marathons a Week for Five Months — Starts Monday, April 8

Quits Job to Help Kids in Africa Get Clean Water With international Christian Relief Group World Vision


Forty-nine-year-old Steve Spear hates to run.

But Spear is now in the final stages of training for the run of his life. The Chicago-area pastor recently quit his job as a Willow Creek pastor after 15 years, to focus on raising $1.5 million to provide clean water for 30,000 people living in Kenya.

Spear, who only took up long-distance running five years ago, has completed numerous marathons and ultra-marathons but none like this. He plans to start a coast-to-coast run on April 8 in Southern California, and finish five months later in New York City. Spear says his former senior pastor at Willow Creek Church, Bill Hybels plans to run with Steve on the final leg of the cross-country odyssey into New York in August.

Willow Creek pastor Steve Spear.

Last summer, Spear traveled to Kenya to see how World Vision’s water projects are literally saving lives. Right now, he is training extensively in Chicago, building his tolerance. He’s also fundraising. Currently he’s raised more than $75,000, some checks coming in as large as $10,000; but the majority come in $10 and under.

Once the run begins, Spear says he’ll petition churches along the way for funds. “I’ve never done anything like this before in my life.”

For donations:

Twitter: @SteveSpear30

Rare Feat: Since 1909 when it was first attempted, only 260 people have tried to cross the continental United States, from coast to coast on foot. How rare is that? Imagine The Empire State Building. Now take a grain of sand and lay it at the base of the New York City landmark. Now lay another grain on top of that. Eventually, you’ll have enough of them stacked up to equal the height to that skyscraper. Now take one grain away. Notice how small it is. That’s how rare it is for someone to succeed at what Steve Spears is trying to do. He plans to average more than 170 miles a week or a marathon a day for five months.

Training schedule: Steve runs Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays taking Thursdays and Sundays off.

Important dates: April 8, 2013 (start date); planned arrival mid-August in New York City.

Multi-media content:

Extra notes:

  • Spear will run 3,200 miles, averaging a marathon a day for 5 months.
  • Spear will consume 6,100 calories/day & go through 10 pairs of running shoes.
  • 900 million people lack access to safe water.
  • 6,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water.
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