Hilary Swank Joins U.N. Clean Drinking Water Campaign

Hilary Swank Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank kicked off a round-the-world run Friday to raise awareness of the world’s 1.1 billion people who lack access to clean drinking water.

As part of the Blue Planet Run, 20 runners will log 15,200 miles over 95 days. Each participant will run 10 miles at a time.

Just before the first runner left the U.N. lawn to set out for Boston, the two-time Academy Award winner said she had taken the “ordinary miracle” of clean drinking water “for granted far too many times.”

“Making safe drinking water available is everyone’s problem, and it’s a problem it will take everyone to solve,” she said.

Nearly one in every six inhabitants of planet Earth — about 1 billion people — do not have access to clean drinking water, according to the United Nations.

The runners will publicize the problem of clean water and let people know that solutions are within reach, said Jin Zindell, chairman and founder of the Blue Planet Run Foundation.

“They will be informing ordinary individuals that we can do something extraordinary, like save a person’s life for $30, by bringing safe drinking water to them,” he said.

Swank, who won Oscars for her roles in “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby,” recently starred as an inspirational teacher in the drama “Freedom Writers.”

“It’s easy for me to show up today and talk about this,” Swank told The Associated Press. “The real heroes are the 20 people who are actually running … and putting their lives on hold for the 95
days.”

The runners will cross 16 countries, starting in the U.S. and flying to Ireland, then ferrying to England and France. From France, they will cross Europe and Asia on land, eventually flying from Beijing to Japan before heading back to the United States.

Copyright 2014 by Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.