American ultra-endurance athlete Katie Spotz completed a 220K run across the entire state of Maine over the weekend, finishing the challenge she dubbed the Run4Water in 33 hours and 46 minutes. Spotz has completed similar challenges before, such as the Swim for Water (a project which saw her swim the 523-kilometre Allegheny River in Pennsylvania and New York) and the Row for Water (a 70-day solo row that covered the 4,900 kilometres between Senegal in Africa and Guyana in South America). Like those challenges, Spotz used the Run4Water to raise money to support clean water projects around the world, and her fundraiser currently sits at more than US$17,500 (C$23,000).
As Spotz told Canadian Running earlier in the summer, she has spent well over a decade asking herself the question, “How far can I go?” This is what drove her to complete her rowing and swimming challenges, plus the many other tests of endurance that she has pursued in her life. As a trial run to see how she would fare with a cross-state run, Spotz ran across New Hampshire in June. This was a 100K run, and although it was less than half the distance of her eventual run across Maine, her result (she finished in 11 hours) gave her confidence moving forward to her ultimate goal for 2020.
She started the Run4Water in a town called Coburn Gore in Maine, right at the U.S.-Canada border near Quebec. From there, she went south all the way across the state until she hit the Atlantic Coast at the Gulf of Maine. Her final distance (according to her Strava file) was 221.88K, and her elapsed time was just six minutes longer than her moving time (meaning that she kept her watch running for most of the breaks she took). She made it across the state in a little under 34 hours, working out to a final per-kilometre pace of 9:08. Going into the run, she said she expected to finish anywhere from 30 to 36 hours, so she was right on with her estimate.
Spotz’s eyes were opened to the water crisis while studying in Australia. “I vividly remember one of my professors mentioning that the wars of the future will be fought over water,” she said. Because of this, all of her projects have helped fund different water projects. Run4Water is a fundraiser for Lifewater International, an non-profit that has water projects in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Cambodia. Spotz’s fundraiser currently sits at $17,500, and she has a final fundraising goal of $20,000. Across all of her endurance challenges and campaigns, she has raised close to $400,000 for global water projects. To find out more about Lifewater and Spotz’s fundraiser, click here.