Running a marathon is no easy feat to accomplish, but just imagine carrying an extra 45 pounds with you for those 26 miles.

You might be thinking that there’s no way you’d try that, but would you change your mind if you knew it could help people who don’t have access to clean drinking water?

23-year-old James Leitner has been running a marathon every month while carrying a 45-pound jug of water to raise awareness about the long journeys people take every day just to find water. Every grueling race he finishes helps the Philadelphia-Serengeti Alliance — a nonprofit organization committed to providing clean drinking water to areas in Tanzania — build wells for villages that desperately need them. He completed his ninth marathon on January 7, and has three more to go before accomplishing his goal of raising $15,000 for this great cause.

The West Virginia resident says his perspective on life changed forever while he was doing research for a paper in high school. He learned that nearly one billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water.

“Children five years old, walking ten miles a day carrying 45lbs of water, the idea baffled me. I decided at that moment that I wanted to work in another country and dedicate my entire life to provide clean drinking water,” he says.

The weight of the jug is significant because “45lbs is equal to 5 gallons of water. That amount is enough for one person to do what they need for water, whether washing, bathing, drinking, or cleaning.”

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