Drinking Water :: Oscar-winning actress helps UN launch global race for safe water

Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank helped kick off a race to bring safe drinking water to 20 million people by 2015 at a United Nations Headquarters ceremony that included live world music and students that have raised funds for water and sanitation projects.

?We?re gathered here to acknowledge that for over one billion people on this planet, safe drinking water is simply not available,? the Hollywood actress said at the launch in New York of the first-ever around-the-world relay race to raise funds and spread awareness about the need for safe drinking water.

Applauding the men and women taking part in the race ? known as the Blue Planet Run ? Ms. Swank said, ?Because of your efforts on behalf of the one billion people who struggle daily to get the water they need to stay alive, I know I?ll never take a glass of water for granted again.?

The UN Works Programme and the UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) organized today?s launch to send off the international team of 20 runners who will run 24 hours a day in 10-mile individual relay segments for 95 days.

Starting today in New York, the team will run along a route that includes the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan and Canada. Each runner will sprint 10 miles a day and batons will be passed at over 1,500 exchange points. The Run will end back in New York on 4 September.

Blue Planet Run Foundation has already funded 135 projects in 13 countries and provided safe drinking water to 100,000 people. The Run will take place every two years, alternating between the northern and southern hemispheres.

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