The roadblocks David Christof has endured through his long distance runs are nothing compared to the perils affecting those he is running for.
Thursday night, SCSU welcomed back an alum that has accomplished challenging feats with a mission to fundraise and raise awareness to the issue of safe drinking water.
Originally from the Czech Republic, Christof graduated from St. Cloud State University with his master’s degree in 2005. From there he began his first job at Ohio University as a Hall Director.
It was there that he saw an advertisement from his running club that was looking for athletes to run around the world for the cause of safe drinking water — a problem Christof knew little about at the time.
After completing the interview process, it was in 2007 Christof learned he was chosen to run around the world, a decision that would later change the course of his life.
The mission involved a 20-person relay to run around the world to raise awareness about the world’s water crisis.
The relay began in New York City, flew over the Atlantic Ocean and continued throughout Europe. During that time, one member of the relay was always running throughout the day and night. It went through 16 countries in 95 days.
Christof ran approximately 750 miles as a member of the relay. People wonder why he runs. He runs for the 1.1 billion people who do not have access to drinking water. He does it for the people who are in the hospital with waterborne illnesses, equaling half of the world’s population. He does it for the 6,000 people who die everyday from drinking unsafe water.
Upon his first journey of running to raise awareness, many approached him to commend him on what he was doing.
“People kept telling me it was amazing what I was doing and thanking me, but I realized can do much more,” Christof said. “After all, I was getting paid to do it, all expenses were paid, and I was told where to go, all I had to do was run for ten miles.”
“So I made this promise: One day I will do another run where I do much more to actually help the people who do not have safe drinking water.”
Not long after, Christof made good on that promise. In the summer of 2012, he planned and executed a run that started in Prague that went all the way to London in five weeks. In total, the run was 821 miles. For this run he did all the planning, routes, fundraising and speaking, while making a movie of the entire trip.
This trip began at the German School Prague where after he ran for five weeks and raised over $12,000. This provided safe drinking water for over 400 people to a rural Ugandan orphan school, St. Bonaventure Primary in Mulajji Village.
These missions became a way of life for Christof. Following his 2012 run, he completed a trip alternating running and biking from Prague to Africa in May/June of 2013. Then in spring of 2014, he ran across the Kingdom of Jordan to help Syrian refugees, many of which are children.
Christof’s current mission is his ’21 marathons, 21 schools, for safe drinking water around the USA’ campaign. For this run he will be completing one marathon a week and up to four presentations a week to high schools, universities and so on. He began the run in San Francisco and will continue on all over the U.S.
As a whole, he cycled and ran over 3,000 miles in over eight European countries. Throughout all of his journeys, he has not yet experienced a single injury.
Throughout the years, he raised over $38,000 while bringing water education to thousands of people. All of the donations he received were from individual donors, not large corporations. People did what they could do to help out.
When community comes together, great things can happen, he said.
“It was never about just me. It was about helping other people. It was about engaging people,” Christof said.
He also attributed his past experiences to where he is now. He told the audience that his experience at St. Cloud State as a public speaking major (now communication studies) allowed him to speak to schools. He also explained his experience previously as a runner aided in him being able to do what he can now.
“All these things from my past came to me and allowed me to do this run. If I hadn’t done that, the well in Uganda would not exist today. I realized it actually makes sense what I am doing,” Christof said. “And yes, people ask me if I am crazy. I don’t think I am crazy; there should be more people in the world that are crazy. We all have different passions. Take the passion that you have and try to apply some good in the world.”
For more information about David Christof’s journey and how to support his cause please visit: