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the gift of clean water fuels one man's journey

Allen Lerold, CNC Technician at Immedia and self-professed "couch potato," found himself called to action in a big way in 2015 when he traded in his sedentary lifestyle to train for a marathon to support Team World Vision, the largest non-government provider of clean water in the developing world. Lerold started training in April of 2015 to run the Twin Cities marathon last October. In seven months, he not only completed his very first marathon, he also raised enough money to provide 40 people in Africa clean water for a lifetime. Here's his story:

I volunteer my time at my church, Presbyterian Church of the Master, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where I serve as an Elder. An organization called Team World Vision (TWV) came to our church to recruit people who may not normally be athletically inclined to run in a marathon to raise money for clean water in Africa.

 Why would I do this? I am not exactly an athletic guy. I think it's a big deal if I walk nine holes on the golf course instead of taking the cart. As the TWV representative told us about a 300-pound woman who did this, and her and her husband's tears of joy as she crossed the finish line, I felt myself tear up a little and thought, "Oh no, Lord. Don't make me do this!" Then I watched a video of Africans hauling huge buckets of not-real-clean water on their heads, and I started thinking maybe I needed to consider this.

 Our pastor was first to sign on, and we were encouraged to meet at the front of the church after service if we wanted to join. As the service ended, I still considered making a beeline for the exit. There wasn't a huge rush going to the front of the church. As I turned to the aisle to leave, the first person I saw was a young congregation member happily making his way in leg braces and a walker.

 I turned left instead of right, and headed for the front of the church.

Lerold plans to run the Twin Cities marathon again on Oct. 9, 2016, to support Team World Vision. You can contact him if you'd like to join or donate to his team and give the gift of clean water to people who need it. According to Lerold, "You don't have to be a member of the church and all faiths are welcome!" To learn more about Team World Vision, visit their website at