CLEVELAND — Some people look their entire lives for their “why." Katie Spotz found it a decade ago and has been chasing it ever since. She's done it by rowing, biking and running and has raised nearly $300,000 for people she will never meet in the process.
“This will be one of my biggest challenges and definitely one of my biggest running challenges yet,” said Spotz.
Spotz is a 2005 Mentor graduate, now a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and an endurance athlete.
“My journey with athletics started on the bench,” said Spotz. “I set my own personal goal to try and run one mile straight. That was something I'd never done before. I didn't even think I could do it.”
That's hard to believe once you hear what she's accomplished. Spotz is an author, completed five Ironman triathlons and last year, she became the first person to run nonstop 138 miles across the state of Maine in 33 hours. The youngest person to row solo from Africa to South America, she was at sea for 70 days. Through all of this, she only had one goal and that was to raise money for clean water projects all over the world.
“What's great about water is if you care about education that kids can go to school if they have clean water,” said Spotz. “If you care about the environment, health, women empowerment, there are so many ways that water touches all aspects of life. I just believe it's a foundation that, you know, if you go to the root of the problem, there are all these other things that can be transformed.”
“I am doing a run for water,” said Spotz of her latest big challenge. “An attempt to run 11 ultras in 11 days to fund 11 clean water projects in Uganda.”
An ultra marathon is any run exceeding the regular marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Spotz completed a run across the state of Ohio starting in Cincinnati ending in Cleveland, a total of 326 miles. July 1 was her last day. A big victory came the night before she finished when she hit her goal of $34,000.
“It really isn't a better way of ending that,” said Spotz.
A picture-perfect finish to a victory in the name of clean water for all. Spotz said she runs on faith. In an Instagram post on Day 7, she said in part that, “At one point in my life, I worshipped accomplishments and achievements above everything else. As a result, running and endurance feats no longer felt joyful. The reason I was able to start running again was because of becoming a Christian and learning how to give it to God and lean on Him for strength.”