Blogs/ >

What I learned while running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

POSTED November 21, 2022

What I learned while running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Fred, Children Believe’s CEO, shares what inspired him onward in his personal and professional journey during a recent fundraiser

By Fred Witteveen, CEO,

Fred poses with his medal at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Toronto

About a month ago, a group of 14 Children Believers, from as young as nine, ran in the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which raised $2.5+ million much-needed funds for its 150 charity partners. It was quite an accomplishment. Working as part of a community toward a common goal was energizing.

It was the first time Children Believe signed up as an organization, or as a team, to participate in this event. I’m so glad we did.

The last time I ran a half-marathon was in 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya. I was well overdue to run again for more than one reason. It was fun to push my physical fitness, but the mental training is what propelled me forward. Once again, it reminded me of important life lessons.

First, you have to find your passion and then build positive mental toughness step-by-step. Finally, you have to believe in yourself and others headed toward similar goals (your teammates).

This is how Children Believe succeeds in breaking life’s tough barriers. Of course the road is very different for the people we help, but I’ve seen a similar tenacity of spirit in many of the kids and families.

Team Believe gathers for a photo at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

In the communities we work, it takes concerted effort from many people supporting a common goal to change futures.

I’ve seen steadfast determination on the faces of women and children overcoming devastating loss in Burkina Faso.

I’ve seen the earnest hope of young dreamers reaching for enriching careers step by step in Nicaragua.

These children, youth and women encourage our Children Believe team in Canada. Together, we’re building our endurance, strengthening our skills so we can help more children access education. We believe, together, anything is possible.

Team Believe was thrilled to raise $7,000+ at the Toronto marathon to help more kids dream big. I’m so thankful to Aki, Ariana, Caroline, Colton, Craig, Michelle, Nadira, Nina, Paskwa, Rose, Santosh, Stasha and Tanya for taking the steps to make a difference — and to all their sponsors who supported them in reaching their fundraising goals and personal victories, too.

Everyone runs a race. What’s yours?

Have a great day. Run well.

Sharing is caring:


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

Skip to content