We must run the race which is set before us

Published 12:03 am Saturday, May 30, 2015

About 12 weeks ago, I began a new adventure – one I never thought I would be able to do. A friend of mine invited me to a unique Bible study group that she felt the Lord leading her to start.

In March, I attended the first meeting of “Run for God 5K Challenge,” a “practical guide to running and a 12-week training plan with a Christian focus.”

“Run for God” started in January of 2010 as a Bible study that paralleled faith and endurance,” says founder/runner Mitchell Hollis. “It’s goal was to take those who had never run to their first 5K all the while teaching them to relate the great sport of running to their walk with Christ,” according to the organization’s website.

For someone who isn’t an outdoor person and certainly not athletic, I wasn’t sure if I could take on this challenge, but decided I would take the first step. So I laced up my ancient Reeboks and prepared for that cold morning by wearing a sweatshirt and running pants. About 20 people showed up for the kick-off meeting.

From the beginning, I learned I needed to buy running shoes, which I soon purchased. Each of us have a unique pronation. “the foot’s natural roll following a heel stri-ke…With every stride, your heel strikes the ground first.” Your foot rolls to propel your next step. You select running shoes based on your pronation.

We also learned that there are over 100 scriptures in the Bible that mention running – many of them apply to the Christian race of faith. For instance, the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJ)

Our group meets three times a week. Saturday’s at 7:30 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Every meeting includes a Scripture and a prayer before we run and a prayer following each run to thank God for strength to make the run and protection as we run. Each week challenged my endurance as we increased our running time between intervals of brisk walking. After five minutes of walking, I struggled to run even one minute four times that first day. Next we went to 90 seconds running, then three minutes, the following week five minutes, then eight minutes, 20 minutes, 27 minutes, and this week 30 minutes.

We’ve learned about stretching before and after a run, nutrition, hydration, pacing, goals, injuries, motivation and much more. The blessings I’ve received from “Run for God” include new friendships and the encouragement more advanced runners have given me. I’ve told them to call me, “Turtle.” Thankfully, it’s about endurance not speed.

Last Saturday, I ran my first 5K – though I admit at times I walked fast to catch my breath. What a thrill to cross the finish line! Other runners from our group cheered me on. The Apostle Paul says, “…Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” even running for Him! (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJ)

-Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com.