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Fitness training with a higher purpose

Kari Mitchell produces a charity event, so she knows how difficult it can be to get people involved to raise money for good causes. That's why when she learned about Team World Vision she signed on.

Through athletic endeavors, participants with Team World Vision raise money to provide clean drinking water for people in impoverished communities. The charity is an offshoot of World Vision, a Christian organization that provides aid to millions around the world.

Mitchell, a member of Community of Hope Church, said she and her husband thought it would be fun to do a half marathon together to raise money for the organization. They then decided to see if they could get more people from their church involved

So far eight other members of Community of Hope have committed to either walk or run the 13.1 Minneapolis half marathon in August. As a group they hope to raise more than $1,000.

Team World Vision started in 2006. Money raised by Community of Hope team will go to water projects in Kenya. Midwest coordinator Bradley Hofvauer said World Vision's goal is to provide long-term clean water programs in the country.

"Our goal is to do big, comprehensive water projects so that communities can get a foothold and become more independent," said Hofvauer.

Haufvauer recruits teams from churches to do distance running events to raise money for the cause. He has recruited people from 25 churches in Minnesota to do the 13.1 Minneapolis. This is the event's inaugural year.

"I love getting people fired up about running," said Haufvauer.

Mitchell and the other Community of Hope participants are fired up. She said they have been training diligently and are looking forward to the Aug. 22 event.

While they have done some long distance bike races before Mitchell said neither she nor her husband has ever done anything like a half marathon. This year Mitchell and her husband are walking the 13.1 miles.

Mitchell said there is a time limit so they have to be able to maintain a 16-minute mile pace.

"It's not a leisure walk," she added.

She said learning to pace has been the biggest challenge.

While it's been difficult, Mitchell said training has been a good way for her and her husband to spend time together.

"It's been so fun," said Mitchell.

Although they haven't completed the distance yet, Mitchell said they will be ready by Aug. 22.

Fellow teammates Jen and Tim Schmidt are up to six miles. The couple plans to do a little walking and running to cover the distance.

Jen said they got involved to set a good example for their two children. She hopes to raise $500 toward the cause.

"This is the perfect way for us to help others and by doing it we are teaching our kids," said Schmidt.

Through the process of training Jen said she has found something she really likes to do.

"I really am enjoying it and I think I will keep doing it, as long as my body holds out," Schmidt said.

Mitchell said everyone on the team seems excited and she thinks the group will try to make the half marathon an annual event.

"We hope we can build on it," said Mitchell.

For more information on Team World Vision visit

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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