• Some 6,000 children die every day from disease associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene – equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
  • Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death
  • In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.
  • 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population.
  • PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING: $30 provides safe drinking water for 1 person for a life time! TO DONATE, just follow this link.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 4 2007: Exactly 2 months ago, we finished our run around the world for safe drinking water

I have been avoiding writing this for weeks. I think subconsciously I didn’t want to write the last blog entry, because it would mean that it was over. It would mean that the biggest adventure of my life, the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever done, the intense commitment to something higher than me, was over. Now, two months after our finish in New York City on September 4th, sitting in a coffee shop in Ohio watching the beautiful fall leafs play their colorful theater, it’s time to start living in the presence.

It’s really difficult to wrap up my mind around the fact that we indeed did run around the world. I am sitting in a coffee shop where I used to sit before the Run, watching people do ordinary things they used to do before I left, most of my friends are living same lives they lived before I left. After all, I am living a similar life to what I l lived before I left. Did we really do it? Did we spend 95 days on the road, one of us always running, total of 15,200 miles? Looking back, it really seems surreal. Glimpses of camping in the Gobi desert, walking up the Great Wall of China, vicious mosquitoes in Russia, biking to Auschwitz in Poland, running/biking with my dad through downtown Prague at 3am…. It all plays out in my mind as a historic black and white movie, colored with a deep sense of nostalgia.
I miss my teammates. I miss coming to an exchange point at 2:30am and seeing the other team tired of running since 9pm. I miss the long rides in the van. I miss the excitement of seeing an open gas station in the middle of the night. I miss saying the message every day. I miss having my name pronounced five different ways by various team members and staff. I miss having my life being all about water. I even miss Betty (as we affectionately referred to our GPS navigation device).
I do hold on to my nostalgia extra carefully. I am in no rush to “get on with my life.” I have the whole life to look back on the 95 days in summer of 2007, so I don’t mind to wallow in the valley of nostalgia for some time. Yet, I am slowly moving into the here and now.
After I got home, I went through all my pictures (about 1,500), organized them by country, selected the best ones, and then printed 400 of them and put them into albums. That in itself took some time. I sent one album to my dad for his birthday. Then I put the best pictures into a presentation to share with others. I presented about water and the Run to my colleagues ones, and twice to students from various residence halls. Everyone was so positive about the Run. Many people were so appreciative that, as I they put it, I volunteered 3 months of my life for a great cause. As much as I appreciate their words, I am also a little puzzled by them. I didn’t volunteer my time. I honestly could not imagine anything I would rather do for those 3 months. Learning about the world by traveling it, doing it by something meaningful and mostly enjoyable (for me that being running), and all that to help fellow human beings. I would expect anyone else to do the same, provided they had the security to do that. And the being up all night, fighting mosquitoes, countless hours in the van, desert heat and 12,000 feet elevation? Well, that just added more fun to the whole adventure.
The question that inevitably needs to be answered is: where do we go from here? The Run is over, yet the water crisis still goes on. 1.1 billion people still don’t have access to safe drinking water. Thus, the Run was just a beginning. A grandiose one, an amazing one, yet still just a beginning. It is what I do with my life now that truly matters. It is what I do now, after the interviews end, after I no longer get to visit exciting cities, after the glory of the Run fades into the background, that really matters. I have several plans in mind. First, I want to contact volunteer organizations, schools and colleges, running clubs, churches, and anyone who wants to hear about the Run and the water crisis. I will share the stories, the pictures, the videos (if you would like me to come present, just contact me at christd@muohio.edu). I am also flirting with the idea of running across the US on my own, stopping in every town I pass through and talk about water. That is an ambitious project, which will depend on whether I find another crazy person to do it with me. I also want to stay in touch with the Foundation and see where we all go together.
I would like to thank those who have been most instrumental in me being able to take part in the Run. Thank you to my mom, dad and sister, for their constant encouragement and their ever-present sense of adventure and exploration, which makes it easy for me to want explore new horizons. I also want to thank Victoria, Patty, and Jerry from Miami University for their understanding of the importance of the Run and thus working with me on making it possible to miss the busiest 6 weeks in our profession. Lastly, thank you to all my friends for their excitement and support.
And now are minds are one. Water is life, and life is good at home.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


We did it. We ran around the world for safe drinking water!!! I made it safely home back to Ohio. At this point, I am still trying to figure out what it all means to me. I will write more soon... For now, here are two videos from the end.
Me during my last run:

Team Yellow running together in our last team shift:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Utah and running up to the Independence Pass (12,095 feet)

It’s now 4:31am, and team Yellow is driving to a hotel, somewhere in New York state after our 9pm-3am shift. It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. It’s getting long out here, but soon we will be there. Soon we will have run around the world.
Last 4 weeks of running across America went by pretty fast. Much has happened, but in comparison to the whole run around the world, not that much has happened. The two highlights for me has been running in Utah, and running across Colorado.
I have to say that from the whole world, Utah was the most beautiful place. It was simply breathtaking. Siberia was vast, the Gobi desert in Mongolia was magnificent, Japan was delicate, but Utah was simply from another world. I have been to Arizona and Utah before, but seeing the beauty up close from backroads and from running perspective, I was overwhelmed by nature’s way of showing its best.
The second highlight of the run across the US was running over the Rockies. I was lucky to get the leg into the Continental Divide in the Independence Pass. What a thrill!!! Running 10 miles, all uphill, climbing to the elevation of 12,095 feet. Wow, that was definitely one of the best runs of the whole trip. Originally I was supposed to run only 5 miles to below the summit, but when it was Emmanuel’s time to do the last 5 (we both would then run another 5 on the downhill), we discovered that we had guest runners joining us, and since I knew they would not be able to match Emmanuel’s speed (not many people in the world can), and thus him slowing down for their pace, I decided to continue running with them up to the pass. It was 5am as we were climbing the final miles… surprisingly, the elevation didn’t affect me much at all. It was probably my excitement of covering the highest point on our world journey that kept me going. After all, the highest point in the Czech Republic is 1,609 meters (Mountain Snezka), and I just RAN to about 4,000 meters. That certainly was something to write home about (well, I actually called home instead). It was great running it together with Emmanuel, the future winner of the New York City marathon. Once we got about half a mile from the peak, the rest of team Silver (Shiri and Mary) joined us and we all ran together to the top. The sun was just arising when we arrived. I was standing on the top of the world, beyond myself, in disbelief that I just ran, with no sleep, 10 miles uphill, into 12,095 elevation, and that this feat could actually help someone get access to safe drinking water. Water is life, and life was good in Colorado.
I would like to dedicate this blog to all my colleagues at Miami University in Ohio. Because of their spirit of teamwork I was able to go on this 3-month long journey, and keep the peace of mind of knowing that I can come back to my work and home in Ohio.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Coming to America

We’ve made it. We’re back in the US of A. It’s kind of surreal. We’ve run the whole Euroasia, from Ireland to Japan… and now we’re back in the States, where we’ve started. Did it really happen? Did we really run through 14 countries? Did we really run through 8 time zones? Are we really now in the country where it all started? Just like in running, often you arrive at the same place where you began, yet you’re not the same. It is the journey that matters. It is the journey that changes you.
The flight from Tokyo was pleasant. I sat by a college student who just spent 4 months studying abroad in Tokyo and was coming home. He had actually heard about the Blue Planet Run and was very interested in talking to me about it. I enjoyed his energy. I also enjoyed talking to him about Japan. Although I spent only 4 days in Japan, it totally captured my spirit. Japan was amazing. It seemed to me as a place where East meets West. The services and infrastructure were impeccable, yet the country was radiating respect, culture, and history. That is what I miss sometime when living in the States. As a European living in the US, I miss the cultural heritage and history I am accustomed to from growing up in the Czech Republic (just as an example, the Charles University in Prague was founded in the 14th century). As a partially-American visiting Czech Republic, I sometimes lack the customer service and infrastructure I am so accustomed to from living in the States. Japan had it all. One of my personal goals for the Run was to develop a list of possible futures for me. I added living in Japan (for a year or two) to my list.
Last two days we’ve been running in the Bay are of San Francisco. Today we had a big exchange point at Jack London Square in Oakland. Shiri was running in, and I was running out. Before she came, Emmanuel and I got on the stage for about half an hour and entertained the crowd. It was good times. We talked about the water crisis, about our experiences from running in Asia, and tried to get the audience involved.
I would like to dedicate today’s blog to my best friend Bill. Running and driving around Oakland reminded me of our times here last year. He interned at a school for autistic children near Oakland, and I came out and visited him. He has been a great friend for the last 10 years, and especially supportive in the stresses of applying for the Run, as well as in the preparations for it. Thank you! It is great people like him that make me humble and appreciative of all the good in humanity. Water is life, and life is good in Oakland.

P.S. I found these videos on youtube last night, and wanted to share them with you. They very nicely capture the reason why we run.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Leaving Japan tomorrow

July 31, 11:20am-sitting in a van, one hour before my last 10miler in Asia)
Tomorrow afternoon we’re leaving for the States, and the international part of our Run ends. I have not blogged in the last 10 days, since we left Russia. It’s time again to start. I’ll provide a quick summary, of the last few days, and hopefully soon I can provide more details.
We left Russia with a car accident (all okay… the front axle in our van broke), enjoyed Ulan Bataar (capital of Mongolia), had another car accident on our way out of Ulan Bataar (again, miracously all okay… this time hit by a drunk driver though), spent two days in the Gobi desert with amazing desert running and camping one night and staying in local gers the second night. China was very interesting, with many cars and Beijing being extremely crowded. After flying to Japan, I found myself, at last, in peace. I love Japan. It’s beautiful, respectful, and artistic.
I want to mention that I appreciate all your kind comments to my blog. The last two weeks in Russia were tough… it was getting to me, and my spirits were down at times. Your comments really helped. The good news—my mobile phone will once again be working in the US. Feel free to give me a call (513-255-5880). I am anticipating that I’ll run out of minutes soon, so preferably call between 9pm and 7am when it’s free. Any time in there is fine, since I might be on night shifts again… and I’ll just turn the phone off when I go to bed. If you don’t know me and still want to communicate, feel free to send a text message.
We’re about the start the last third of our Run around the world. I would like to dedicate this entry to Asia. Seeing Mongolia, China, and Japan has opened my eyes to new horizons. New spark has been ignited in me. Water is life, and life is good in Japan.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Thursday 7/19, 5:04pm – in the van on the way to Ulan Ude
Greetings from the deepest lake in the world, a reservoir containing one fifth of the world’s fresh water – Ozoro Bajkal (Lake Bajkal). When entering Russia, I really wanted to see two things: Moscow, and Bajkal. Yesterday I swam in Bajkal, today I ran by Bajkal. Both were majestic experiences. At one point, Bajkal is one mile deep. It is a true wonder. Surrounded by mountains, it is truly breathtaking and humbling to see this jewel. Running through Russia has been long, exhausting, challenging, at times boring… but seeing Bajkal was a great reward. As a ten year old boy back in Czechoslovakia, I saw a documentary about this lake. It was fascinating. To this day I remember the narrator’s deep voice saying: “Nejhlubsi jezero sveta, jezero Bajkal” (“The deepest lake in the world, lake Bajkal). Tomorrow we are crossing to Mongolia. Unbelievable. Mongolia! This is the country I was most excited about before the trip. The Gobi desert! Almost four weeks in Russia are over. I believe we have endured the hardest part of the trip. In the next 12 days, we’ll run through Mongolia, China, and Japan. And on August 1st we’ll arrive to San Francisco and start the month-long trek across the U.S. On August 1st I’ll be able to call many friends and family, have familiar foods, maybe see a movie, I’ll be able to read the alphabet, use a regular toilet… Ah, the wonders of life. We’re doing it, we’re running around the world, because water is life, and life is good at Bajkal.

The last week in Russia

Since last week, we have not had access to the internet. I had 2 cold showers, and one day a swim in a lake instead of a cold shower. Diarrhea, once considered an enemy, has now become more like the disliked relative—unwanted, but ever-present and accepted—as most of the runners have experienced it at one point or another. It affected me for 2 days. Once shy about using the woods, the long call (as my Kenyan friend calls it) in the bushes is no longer a problem for me. Neither is stopping mid-run, telling the police escort “5 minute toilet pausa” and running off to the woods. After running through half of Russia, priorities shift a little. Access to the internet is no longer expected, and hot showers are a nice luxury. Toilet paper is a number one priority, and a toilet seat is a pleasant surprise. Yeah, good times running around the world.
Tuesday was a special day for our guide Arina– we were in her home town: Irkutsk. We got to drive by her university, and go bowling. Wednesday was her birthday, and we bought her a cake and had it at one of the exchange points on the side of the road. Our guide Arina and driver Alexej have been great. Without there help, running through Russia would be extremely difficult. They both are very good people, and I am glad had the opportunity to share the last four weeks with them. After running in the flats for last week or so, the countryside now has more variety, which makes the running more interesting. Water is life, and life is good in Irkutsk.

This blog entry is dedicated to my sister Tereza, who has been my guardian and mentor for the last 28 years. It was her who helped me with homework, gave me advice on girls, and even researched for me for which countries on this trip I need visas. Thank you!

Tento blog je venovan me sestre Tereze, ktera byla muj ochrance radce poslednich 28 let. Byla to ona kdo mi pomahal s ukoly, radila o holkach, a dokonce mi nasla pro ktere zeme na teto ceste potrebuji viza. Diky!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Questions anyone?

Greetings BPR supporters :-)
This morning I had yet another beautiful run, at 3am floating through Siberia. And, as it always happens on great runs, I had a great idea. I realized that I have not been communicating with you much one on one, and that you probably have questions about the Run. So, please ask away. Post questions/comments after my blog entries. Feel free to ask anything. I know you are out there (I see the number on my page counter growing), so don't be shy. Any comments/questions always lift up my spirits. It gets lonely and longsome over here, and knowing that people are reading from far helps me remember that water is life, and life is good in Asia.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A European, in Asia, missing America...

Friday, July 13th – 2:48am
I’m sitting in a van, somewhere past Novosibirsk in Russia. It is pitch dark outside right now. About 20 minutes ago, Shiri left for her 10miler. She was the first one from out team. We’ll be out here until just before 9am. I have the last leg of our team. We are waiting at approximately 8km (5mile) mark of Shiri’s course…
…… 20 minutes later. An interesting idea just crossed my mind. I am a European, right now in Asia, and I miss America. Isn’t that strange? Our Russian van driver just put in his portable DVD a US movie, and we watched some. It brought back memories of America. It was odd hearing words like Cincinnati and Kentucky, hearing the southern accent, seeing an old diner. Over the last 10 years, the U.S. has become my second home. I owe many things to the U.S. It is disappointing being abroad and hearing bad comments about the States. Being European, the people often are much more open with me when talking about the U.S. I wish they could meet the people I know in the States. I wish they could meet the people that care about humanity deeply...the Schichtels, the Steeds, the Aunt Sally’s, the Mrs. Quinns… Unfortunately, they can’t. All they can often know about the States is its foreign policy, and some of the culture that has been exported through the media, often filtered and distorted. It is my sincere hope that the heartfelt, sincere, caring people that we meet along the way on the Run could meet and talk with the caring, sincere, and heartfelt people that I know back in the States. Those that have helped me along my last 10 years.
It is 4:24am now. Shiri has finished her run, and Dot is out there right now. It’s still somewhat dark, but an amazing sunrise is on the horizon. Siberia is looking very beautiful at this moment.
I’ve decided to start dedicating by blog entries. Appreciation is an important value to me. Vast majority of what I am and what I have done is because of those before me.
Today, I want to dedicate this entry to my parents, Dasa and Milan. Without their positive outlook on life and adventurous spirit, I would most certainly not be running around the world. I know it’s been hard on them last several years with me living in America. Thank you for all your support. Without you, I could not say that water is life, and life is good in Russia.

Dnes bych rad venoval tento blog mym rodicum Dase a Milanovi. Bez jejich pozitivniho nahledu na zivot a dobrodruzneho ducha bych urcite ted nebezel kolem sveta. Vim ze to pro ne bylo tezke tech poslednich par let co jsem v Americe. Diky za podporu. Bez vas bych nemohl rici ze voda je zivot, a zivot je dobry v Rusku.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

BPR Video from Prague!!!!

Hello all! I just found myself a birthday gift. About 5 minutes ago I discovered that the BPR videos were put on YouTube, thus I can share them with you all right here in my blog. Here is the one from Prague (the first minute or so, then it goes to Austria and Poland). For more vidoes from the run, go to youtube.com and search for BluePlanetRun user.