Senior Drew Moore generally keeps his activities pretty close to the vest, but from time to time his accomplishments come to light.
We may know he has placed in TAPPS math and science competitions, as well as led Grace Prep’s teams at the UTA Calculus Bowl and the Oklahoma University Math Day. We may know he is also an athlete, running cross country and playing tennis all four years here, even placing 3rd in the TAPPS State tennis doubles meet with his brother, Luke Moore last year.
Now, thanks to Wingstop and NBC 5, our community can also can learn a little more about Drew and what he did to help a whole village thousands of miles away.
On October 17th, NBC 5 and Wingstop named Drew the Wingstop Scholar Athlete of the month of October and filmed he and his family here in the gym.
Drew said that when he first learned he had won the award, he was “dumbfounded.” Because he’s a private person, Drew was a little nervous about the announcement of the award in front of the school.
“Mr. Harper went up there to announce it, and I was going, ‘Oh boy, what is he about to do to me,'” Drew said with a laugh.
As it went, Drew survived, and completed an interview with NBC 5, which can be viewed here: https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports/Octobers-Wingstop-Scholar-Athlete-Drew-Moore_Dallas-Fort-Worth-563301892.html
After running cross country for four years, Drew quietly decided that the races he was participating in were not long enough. Therefore, when he heard about the Arlington Marathon, he was immediately interested. Because a marathon is almost nine times as long as the cross country races, Drew had to train for it extensively. Starting at the end of his junior year cross country season, Drew spent the next five months gradually building his endurance by going on longer and longer runs, sometimes for hours at a time.
However, Drew’s training was not without setbacks; he suffered several injuries along the way. Thankfully, both of his parents work in the medical field, and were able to apply their knowledge to aid in his recovery.
“There were some real practical things to help, kinda, navigate – especially early on in the training as his runs got longer,” said Drew’s dad Dr. Todd Moore.
The most fascinating part of the story does not relate directly to the marathon itself, but to a nation over eight thousand miles away.
During the time he was training for the marathon, Drew’s family was visited by a pastor in Ethiopia, who discussed the difficulty of getting clean water in his home country.
“[He] explained to us how his family did not have access to clean water in his village until he was grown up. However, shortly before he visited us, the pump of the well broke,” said Drew, remembering. “My family generously provided funding to fix the well.”
This story was of particular interest to Drew because he had been having his own challenges regarding water. Drew would need to rehydrate throughout the race, and therefore he and his family had to figure out where to have water ready for him along the race course.
Drew’s father commented that this process caused them to think about how difficult it would be for people in a third world country – like Ethiopia – to run competitively at all, much less in a marathon, due to the lack of clean water.
Today, 61 million people are still without clean water in Ethiopia alone.
“Hearing that many people have to travel so far just to have access to unclean water prompted me to run for them,” said Drew. “We in the United States take water for granted.”
These musings inspired Drew to undertake a new project: raising money to pay for the construction of a water well in Ethiopia.
Though undertaking a fundraising campaign while playing varsity tennis, getting through the spring semester of his junior year, and training for a marathon was no easy task, Drew put his best effort into it, and the results reflect that. “People donated online with the link www.teamworldvision.org/participant/DrewM.” Drew said, “I encouraged a small gift for the first 25 miles and then the major gift for the last 1.2 miles since the last 1.2 miles are what counts.”
The Ethiopians and the project he had undertaken for them did not leave his thoughts, especially when the time came for him to run. On March 31, 2019, the day of the marathon finally arrived, and with it came universal excitement among Drew and his fans.
“[My wife and I supplied] encouragement until the day of, but the day of, it was like a big parade,” said Drew’s father, “We had people spread out along the course…we got some cowbells [to give them].”
It wasn’t just the Moore’s family, either. The Gunn family attended the race to support Drew, as did long-time Grace Prep faculty member Kathy Blass.
Drew finished the Arlington Marathon with a time of just over three-and-a-half hours, which was good enough not only to win his age group but to finish in the top ten overall.
“The finish of my marathon was very difficult and exhausting,” said Drew. “I was aching everywhere in my body and could barely keep moving, much less running.”
All told, Drew managed to raise $26,200 for the well. Construction is currently underway, and it is planned to be completed by 2020, at which time Drew and his family will visit to see it in person.
Drew said he is, “Very surprised at how long [the well] takes to build. However, I trust that the benefit of it will quickly surpass the initial investment and have an almost infinite return on investment.”
Finishing a marathon AND raising enough funds to build a water well for those who have no water is impressive enough, but so is the fact that Drew’s time is almost an hour faster than the median finishing time for male runners in U.S. marathons.
This achievement – together with Drew’s altogether impressive resume – won him the Wingstop Scholar Athlete for October of 2019.
Athletes are independently nominated, and a panel of judges selects a monthly winner based on academic and athletic rigor and achievement, as well as community involvement.
Though he doesn’t yet know where he is going to attend school or what he will major in, he plans to fulfill the undergraduate requirements for medical school, and put the scholarship towards extra school expenses.
Drew’s experiences in and surrounding the marathon serve to illustrate an important lesson: even when we are pursuing our own ends, we can always benefit others along the way.