Ni hao, Rotarians!
Something amazing happened in Vienna in October. A runner from Kenya named Eliud Kipchoge was the first person in history to run a marathon distance — 26.2 miles — in less than two hours.
For many years, experts thought this would be impossible. They said the human body was not capable of achieving this feat. But Kipchoge succeeded because he had an incredible team working with him. He had pacers who ran with him every step of the way, and people who made sure that he had the proper fuel and hydration. Every few miles, fresh runners were sent in to keep up the pace and help him reach his goal.
Like Eliud Kipchoge, Rotary has a great support team as we approach the final mile in our marathon journey to rid the world of polio. So many amazing Rotarians have helped pace this effort along the way, donating their time and energies to bring us close to our goal.
The World Health Organisation has certified type 3 of the wild poliovirus as eradicated. This is big news! We have also gone three years without any wild poliovirus on the continent of Africa. It may soon be certified polio-free.
The final mile of our journey is a difficult one. Pakistan and Afghanistan are great challenges for us — but we have met so many great challenges before. Every time a goal has seemed out of reach, Rotarians have stood together and answered the call.
This is no time to lose our focus or think the race is already over. Can you imagine what would have happened to Eliud Kipchoge if all of the pacers had gone home for the final 2 miles? He might never have reached his goal.
It takes a special character to pursue a difficult task all the way to the end. These are the times that we need each other most. In the Tao Te Ching, Laozi wrote that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. But it also ends with one step. And those final steps take just as much courage as the first.
Let’s make history, Rotary — the finish line is within reach!
Gary C K Huang
Foundation Trustee Chair