A pair of central Ohio runners are preparing to travel to India to take two million steps to raise money and awareness to battle human trafficking around the globe.

A pair of central Ohio runners are preparing to travel to India to take two million steps to raise money and awareness to battle human trafficking around the globe.

John Moriarty, 56, and Chris Smith, 59, have been running for years. In an attempt to add some meaning to their hobby, the pair will travel across the globe in January to run 1,000 miles in less than six weeks, traveling 31 miles each day and resting on Sundays.

Moriarty, a Westerville resident, is the pastor of Chapel church in Westerville, and has traveled to various global locations for humanitarian efforts and other nonprofit work. He's recently rededicated himself to running, preparing for the task of 1,000 miles in a row.

While Smith said he'll be running into his 80s, Moriarty isn't so sure, and said the time was right for his body and mind to be capable of the task.

"I know there's probably a window of time, and that window is probably closing in reality on both of us," he said. "So I thought, let's do this while we can."

Around four years ago, Moriarty threw out the idea to plan the India trip. He wasn't ready for the physical aspect of the trip, but wanted to target India, one of the world's human trafficking epicenters, for the mission.

While India may be the focus, Moriarty hopes the trip can hit home in Ohio.

"One is too many, but the United States is ranked 52nd in human trafficking (worldwide)," he said. "We're hearing more about it worldwide in the last few years, but there are hubs even here in Ohio."

Smith is a Melbourne, Australia, native who has lived in Ohio for more than 20 years. He resides in Clintonville, and owns Marathon Media in Columbus. While Moriarty is a marathoner, Smith is an ultra-marathoner, frequently traveling to compete in super-long distance races and often serving as a pace-setter.

He said his role will be to set the pace for the trip and act as team psychologist, helping with the mental and physical aspects. But he's more worried about dogs with rabies and mosquitoes with malaria than the run.

"You have to change your thought patterns," he said. "It might be a risky adventure in some respects, safety-wise, but if we pull this off it will be an amazing task."

Smith hasn't done as much outreach work as Moriarty, and said he jumped at the opportunity.

"I wanted to use my feet for something else -- to help," he said.

So the pair are using the run to raise money -- collecting pledges from people they know -- with the astronomical goal of raising a dollar per step. Moriarty knows they likely won't hit that goal, but said he'd prefer to aim high.

"If nothing special or crazy happens, we'll raise $60,000," he said. "But I would love for it to be much more fruitful than that. We're committed to running it no matter what."

The trip has been dubbed Sparrow's Hope, named after one of the world's most common birds.

"You may look outside and see a dozen of them, but you'll never notice them," Smith said. "I think they're symbolic of the 2 million children in sex trade. No one notices them."

Moriarty and Smith will be armed with a nurse, a camera crew working on a documentary and perhaps an Indian runner. And while their trip is taking place on a large scale, the pair said they're just trying to do something good.

"It's just a couple guys who want to make a difference," Moriarty said.

For more information or to donate to the cause, visit SparrowsHope.org.

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