Seymour woman completes 56-mile run for Team World Vision


Chrissy Hubers had reached Week 14 of her 24-week training to run 56 miles in South Africa.

She was running Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and doing cross-training Wednesdays. Mondays were for active recovery, and Fridays were for rest.

Since Jan. 2, she had run 900 miles, including 26 or more miles in a day nearly 10 times. The cross-training was primarily swimming at 5 a.m. at the Seymour High School pool.

Then in March, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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At that point, the 33-year-old Seymour woman wasn’t sure about the fate of participating with Team World Vision on June 14 in the Comrades Marathon, which goes 56 miles between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and is the oldest and largest ultramarathon in the world with 25,000 runners annually.

In April, Hubers learned through a Zoom meeting that for the safety of the runners, Team World Vision was not going to participate in the event. She said she was among nearly 25 runners from all over the United States plus spectaculetes (friends and family who go to cheer them on) who were set to travel there.

Shortly after, Comrades officials announced the cancellation of the race.

"It was devastating, absolutely heartbreaking. I understood it, but it did not make it any easier. I wasn’t mad. I was just sad," Hubers said.

"The dream of going and meeting my teammates and seeing the work of World Vision, all of it, it was heartbreaking," she said. "I got off that team call and I just sobbed. I have a picture of a pile of Kleenexes, like an entire Kleenex box. Probably for an hour or two, I just cried, and my husband (Neil), supported me and listened."

With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the health risks involved, Hubers spent three weeks contemplating if it was safe to proceed with her training.

The first weekend after her team call, she was scheduled to do a 26-mile run. It was recommended that she pause, step back and run 10 miles instead.

"I finished that run and I just sobbed. I was so disappointed," Hubers said. "I just felt like I have to keep going, so I think then, I knew I’m going to do this here in town. The trip might be canceled, but my mission is not.

"Just like when I said, ‘I’m going to go to South Africa and run this,’ I spoke my dream to my friends and my church family and said, ‘I think I want to do this in town.’ Everybody was so supportive of it."

Her training picked back up, and she followed her original game plan.

On June 13, Hubers started running at her parents’ home in Seymour at 6 a.m. and finished a 56 miles around the city and country roads 12 hours later. That’s exactly the amount of time she would have had to finish the race in South Africa.

Throughout the day, she was joined by 16 people who either biked or ran alongside her for company. Plus, people made signs and placed them along the course or wrote on the pavement with chalk to encourage Hubers.

At the finish line in front of her parents’ home, Hubers estimated 100 people came out.

"When I decided to do this in town, I knew that I would have the support of friends and family, but I didn’t know what it would turn into," she said. "It turned into just the community coming together, and that was amazing."

The experience made her think of an African proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

"I know I was the one who ran 56 miles," Hubers said, "but I absolutely would not have done that without my crew of people. No way in the world. They were incredible."

"Whether they prayed for me or gave me water or rode their bike or ran alongside me or lathered me down in sunscreen or cheered me on, put out a sign, put out a banner, put out balloons, shared my story online, invited people into sponsorship, talked about their sponsorship journey, all of it was just incredible," she said.

Helping kids

Her goal taking the run was to secure sponsorships for 60 children through World Vision, which partners with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

A sponsorship is a monthly gift of $39 to support a child of the donor’s choosing.

"That money is pooled with other sponsor dollars who are being sponsored in that community to have access to clean water, food security, education, health care, just the things that we really take for granted here," Hubers said.

The first few years are spent determining the needs of the community and equipping the people to receive clean water, food sources and training.

"Then the people in this community are the ones who sustain it," Hubers said. "That’s the beautiful thing about World Vision is it’s a sustainable plan, and they work with them to make sure that the things that have been put into place will ultimately help them."

Hubers currently has 33 children sponsored and continues to secure more contributions to reach her goal.

"I finished the race, but I don’t feel like I’m finished," she said. "I feel like my goal is still to get 60 kids sponsored."

On Nov. 7, she will run with Team World Vision in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon for the third year in a row.

Running for a cause

Her journey with World Vision began in 2018 when Steve Spear came to her church, The Point in Seymour, and shared his story of running coast to coast and statistics about the global water crisis.

"That’s when my heart broke for the cause, and I left church that day feeling like I have to say yes to this," she said. "The one that struck me the most was half of the children under the age of 5 living in communities without access to clean water will die before their fifth birthday because of waterborne illnesses."

At the time, her children, Landon and Evelyn, were 3 and 1.

"So statistically speaking, that would mean if I lived in one of those areas, one of my babies wouldn’t live until their fifth birthday, so that was really what was like, ‘If I can do something to help these mothers see their babies to their fifth birthday, then I have to do it,’" Hubers said.

The number of people worldwide without access to water has decreased through World Vision’s work, but Hubers said it’s still more than 600,000.

"They talked about this is a preventable cause," she said. "We know how to get these communities access. It’s just having the funding and then the manpower to go and do it and to equip the people in the communities to do it. They believe in our lifetime we can see an end to the global water crisis."

The summer before participating in the half-marathon in Indianapolis in 2018, Hubers won a book written by Team World Vision founder Michael Chitwood, "The Ability to Endure."

"He just talks about various hardships that he had faced and losses that he had faced in his life and how he came to start Team World Vision from that," she said. "In that book, he talks about Comrades, so that was my first introduction, first summer it laid on my heart."

‘A step of faith’

In 2019, Hubers’ goal was to do the full marathon in Indianapolis so she could qualify for Comrades. That would be her first marathon.

"Comrades sells out in 24 hours. To guarantee a spot, I had to sign up before running my first marathon," Hubers said. "That was like a step of faith. In one way, it was a good motivator of ‘I’ve got to hit my qualifying time so that I can go to Comrades.’

"But also, it was just a step of faith trusting the Lord laid this dream on my heart and this is just the next step that I have to take to make that happen."

After completing the marathon, she began training for Comrades at the beginning of this year.

Hubers said she initially wondered how she was going to run 56 miles in 12 hours.

"There was ‘Wow! That’s a lot of miles.’ There was a little bit of ‘Can I do this?’" she said. "But then there was also the excitement and the joy and feeling like I’m accomplishing something, I’m doing something that I’ve never done before, I’m proud of what my body can do, what God is allowing me to do, how I am inspiring other people through this," she said. "That became just really humbling, honestly, that the Lord was using me to inspire other people, inviting me into that."

With all of the training Hubers piled up, and the emotional strain of having the race canceled, her run around Seymour became a day to celebrate. That was the message from her friend, Annie Ferret, who did a lot of training with her.

"It’s time to celebrate all of the hard work that has been put in, all of the lives that have been changed, all of the kids who are receiving access to clean water and education and health care and hope and fullness of life," Hubers said. "That is the heart in which I took on the day."

While she felt nauseous for a large part of the race, Hubers powered through.

"It is definitely the hardest physical challenge I’ve ever taken on," she said.

In a video made by family and friends that she watched the day before, one thing her uncle said stood out: "In a time where people are running from so many things, I think it’s really beautiful that you are running for something or someone."

"I was just like, ‘Yes!’ but I didn’t do that alone. People just rallied," she said.

"I hope that through this, my story can inspire somebody else to say yes to their dream believing in themselves, to doing good, not just being inspired by what I’ve done but putting that into action," Hubers said.

"The scariest part to saying yes to a dream is saying yes, and then it’s just the daily in and out of ‘What do I have to do today?’ one day at a time, one step in front of the other until you hit the finish line."

The next Comrades race is set for June 13, 2021. Hubers said she may sign up.

"It will be Comrades’ 100th anniversary next year, so that would be pretty special," she said.

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Chrissy Hubers of Seymour has a goal to secure 60 sponsorships to help children through World Vision. To sponsor a child, visit or text "Warrior" to 44-888.

Aside from child sponsorship, people wanting to get more involved can join Team World Vision. The Point and area churches will be participating in the Indianapolis Monumental half and full marathons Nov. 7 with Team World Vision.

Runners will raise funds to fight the global water crisis. Every $50 raised provides clean water to one person for life.

Anyone is welcome to join the team. Training will start July 6. For more details and to join the team, visit


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