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There are a lot of good reasons to run; the 2nd annual Blue Planet 5k run is one of them. This year’s run will be held at the Tassee Shelter located on the Little Tennessee Greenway Saturday, Aug. 6, beginning at 9 a.m. There will also be a one mile fun walk/run for those who do not wish to do the entire 5K. The walk will begin right after the start of the 5K.

“One of the reasons this event is so important to me is that it provides an opportunity for some people to have their eyes opened to some of the larger issues, and that’s what is really important,” said Canyon.

Woodward, organizer of the Franklin Blue Planet 5k run. “The water crisis is mind-blowing ... but the progress being made is mind-blowing as well, just not quite so much in comparison to the problems.” Woodward said that there is a lot more to be done, but it begins with public awareness.

Runners in last year’s Blue Planet 5K run take off from the start line. Photo by Hayley OosthuysenThe Blue Planet Network helps provide safe drinking water, and is the only one of many organizations dedicated to helping third world countries. The Blue Planet website states that it “is the first collaborative, scalable and transparent global network of all types of groups combating the safe drinking water crisis.” Currently there are 70 various water groups working around the world in 23 different countries. Blue Planet employs what is known as the Peer Water Exchange where people can review and learn from each other’s work and get funding to start their own clean water projects.

“Water is life” and in some countries, especially rural areas, people are struggling for even small amounts of life. Among other surprising statistics that the Blue Planet Network presents to the public, is the fact that a billion people everyday are facing the worst killer of all, the lack of safe drinking water. That equals out to one in six people, globally. People in these countries will go to great lengths to get water. In Africa, the average distance women must walk to collect drinkable water is 3.6 miles. So much of their time is spent getting water which takes away from other needs like their families or taking care of their homes. Canyon Woodward has traveled around the world, seeing the problem firsthand.

A little girl in Nicaragua must shoulder a heavy jug to bring drinking water to her family. Photo by Canyon Woodward“I’m extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience other cultures and get a feel for how others struggle day to day for the simple things we take absolutely for granted,” he said.

It is difficult for Americans to grasp this reality because water is so abundantly accessible. It is hard to understand that it will not always be that way because water is being used faster than it can naturally be replaced. Statistics provided by the Blue Planet Network show that the average American uses 100-175 gallons of water per day, whereas the average African only uses five gallons per day. “Many organizations and publishers have set out to produce projects and books about environmental issues but they have usually concentrated on ‘those poor people over there,’” writes Jin Zidell, founder of the Blue Planet Network. “Our goal is to connect the dots, to visually demonstrate that the global water crisis is exactly that: global and something that affects us all.”

The Tassee Shelter is located at the corner of Ulco Dr and Wells Grove Rd, Franklin, NC 28734. The parking area for the shelter is closed for construction at this time, however, there is additional parking about a minute’s walking distance up the road from the shelter.

The entry fee is $20 for those who register by Aug. 4. Applications can be picked up at Franklin High School or printed online. Race-day registration is $25 and will be available the morning of the race, starting at 8 a.m. Fees include a brunch donated by Riverblaze Bakery and Jer’s Kitchen to be held right after the race. All proceeds from the event will go to help with the Blue Planet project.

There will also be an awards ceremony with medals for the different age divisions and medals for the top three runners overall. Those that can not participate in the 5k run but still wish to support the cause can make a donation online at www.blueplanetnetwork.org. The network can also be found on facebook.

For more information about the cause, the race, how to register, or how to donate, visit www.franklin5kforcleanwater.com or email Canyon Woodward at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


• Registration to run or walk due by August 6.
• To make a donation to the project visit www.franklin5kforcleanwater.com.
• To volunteer with the race contact Canyon Woodward by August 6 at (828)342-5999.
• Help spread the word by “liking” the 5K event on Facebook or sharing this article with a friend.


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