It was eight years ago when Steve Spears came to better understand that not everyone in the world has clean running water that comes out of a tap everyday.
In fact he discovered that close to a billion people around the world do not have access to any clean water.
The 49-year-old former pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago made a brief stop in Rolla Wednesday, July 3, where he talked about his cross country run in which he hopes to raise $1.5 million for clean water for Africa.
"When I was in Kenya several years ago I was struck by the plight of mothers and daughters who everyday will walk for six to 10 miles to collect contaminated water in old fuel containers," Spears said.
It was after that trip that he partnered with Team World Vision which equips individuals with the training and fundraising skills they need to raise money for clean water.
His cross country journey began on April 8 on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. His goal is to cross the Brooklyn Bridge by the first week in September.
He says he runs around 35 miles a day, which he pointed out is well over the distance of a marathon a day. He takes two rest days a week. His nights are spent eating. His doctors have recommended that he consume at least 6,100 calories a day.
"It's as much to eat as it is to run sometimes," Spears said.
Approximately 2,000 miles into his journey Spears had a number of good stories to share. He was attacked by a pack of wild dogs. He's run through cold temperatures in the west and a 60 mph sand storm in Texas. Now he is cutting his way through the dense humidity of the Midwest.
All for the cause of clean water.
"I did not choose this particular vision," Spears said. "It chose me! The No. 1 preventable cause of death on the planet is the lack of clean water. Yes, it's preventable. If in some small way I can effect change, I want to do my part."