Olivet Team Runs for Clean Water

Students and staff run the 2019 Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision.

October 28, 2019 Campus Life

“It’s amazing what God can do through each one of us when we say yes,” says Jeremy Van Kley, dean of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

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This spring, Jeremy along with 40 other Olivet Nazarene University students, faculty and staff members said “yes” to running the 2019 Chicago Marathon. By running with Team World Vision (TWV), they also committed to raising money to provide clean water to children in Africa.  

While this year’s team of participants from Olivet was the smallest it has been in the duration of the 8-year partnership, each runner raised more money per person than any other team in the past, according to TWV liaison Tim Hoekstra. Runners on the 2019 University team raised more than $54,000; contributing to $480,000 collectively raised by the Olivet runners. 

The marathon experience is a challenging, yet rewarding opportunity for runners and non-runners to grow emotionally, spiritually and physically. Following are stories from a few of Olivet’s TWV finishers of the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

Lauren Jelderks
Lauren, a first-time marathon runner, decided to run the Chicago Marathon with TWV during a spring chapel service. When she crossed the finish line of the race, she had raised enough money to bring clean water to 40 children.


Lauren says, “This experience taught me a lot, but I think one of the most important things I experienced was the power of prayer. If you want to improve your prayer life, try doing something you don’t like for 5-10 hours every week and watch God move.” Lauren is already looking forward to running for TWV again in 2020.


Rachel Mayotte
Rachel was moved by the stories and willingness of thousands of past runners to participate in the race for clean water. She had been struggling with a lot during the spring 2019 semester and wanted to get involved in something bigger than herself. Running the race was what she felt the Lord calling her to do.

Rachel says, “Looking back at the race, all I can remember is how often I reached out for support from God and how I truly couldn’t have done it without the constant conversation with Him in my head, as well as the encouragement from my family and friends.”

Westin Edwards
Originally, Westin planned on running the Chicago marathon during his sophomore year at Olivet. However, he fell behind on training and fundraising and had to put the goal on pause. In spring 2019, he signed up again – this time viewing the marathon not only as an opportunity to serve, but also to grow.


Westin says, “Running this marathon has only increased my interest in running a second marathon. The foundation of Team World Vision really makes the idea of running a marathon really accessible. The reason behind running is so inspiring and it provides a service that is actively making a difference in the world.”


To learn more about student life at Olivet, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Photos submitted & used with permission.
Published 10/28/2019

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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