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Running on a treadmill can seem monotonous and boring to some, but not to Josh Fly, the fitness director at Chelsea Piers Fitness in New York City. On Saturday, June 23, Fly is embarking on his second annual 50 Epic Miles run to raise money and awareness for children in need in Africa.
Doing the run on behalf of Team World Vision — an extension of the nonprofit organization World Vision — Fly is doing his part to get African children sponsored and given access to clean drinking water.
“Everything we do is part of trying to end the global water crisis,” said Fly. “Things you can do on a local level will have an impact globally on people in great need. Our motto is, ‘We can move our feet for the poor.’”
For many years now, Fly has been moving his feet for the poor. Since teaming up with Team World Vision in 2011, he has run in several fundraiser races and coached others to do the same.
His work in the organization led to the opportunity of a lifetime in 2016. “I was invited to run in South Africa with Team World Vision in an invitational event called ‘The Ultimate Human Race,’” said Fly. “It takes place on a huge international scale, and it changes directions depending on the year. I actually ran those races back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.”
If he was already passionate about his work for children in developing nations, it was his time visiting families of sponsored children in Africa that truly opened his eyes to the magnitude of the problem.
“These are some of the farthest reaches of the earth, with almost forgotten people,” said Fly. “It’s a place where they’ve suffered through anything from droughts to famines, but the number one issue is a lack of clean drinking water. There is usually water around them, but it’s killing them.”
Seeing the problem in person motivated Fly even further — he wanted his platform at Chelsea Piers Fitness to raise awareness and hopefully more sponsorships for children in need of clean drinking water.
“It just so happens I work at this beautiful health club,” said Fly. “I have a friend who ran 50 miles on a treadmill for a fundraising event, so I decided I had to do the same thing.”
The event will carry on as long as it takes Fly to complete 50 Epic Miles, at the end of which he hopes to surpass last year’s sponsorship total.
Chelsea Piers will have other activities available around the area Fly will be running, including the opportunity for guests to come run with him for a portion of his Epic 50 Miles.
“It’s kind of a spectacle to put yourself out in front of so many people and be vulnerable, but people need and want to be inspired,” said Fly. “You cover so much more ground this way than just setting up a table and asking for sponsorships.”
But no matter how much money is raised or how many children are sponsored, Fly knows he’s using his athletic ability to make a difference and inspire others to do the same.
“We’re doing international and local events to get people to move their feet for the poor,” said Fly. “Then we can go to these hard-to-reach places and help them live longer, healthier and better lives.”
Check out Team World Vision to find out more about their mission to fix the clean drinking water problem.