The Long Run
(The long version cause you care just as much about running as I do. Congratulations, you’ve decided that you can read a longer article written by some guy who loves running way too much)
The marathon is a distance that only few truly love. There is no doubt that I love running, but for the most part, I love the variability of running. I can go out and run a quick ¼ mile, ½ mile, or mile or I can stretch the distance to 5 or 10 kilometers or even a half or full marathon. Like I said, I love the variability of running and in turn I love running. But I don’t love the marathon. There are few that do: professional marathoners (who are actually quite fast over the 26.2 mile distance or ultramarathoners, who run marathons as part of their training runs for their own longer races (like 50 and 100 miles long, crazy).
So why did I just train for 6 months to run the Chicago Marathon? Because for me, running is about glorifying God. It’s about becoming centered (and not in that mystical, chanting sort of centered). Running for me and the time I spend running is time I spend away from the rest of civilization. Yes, I may run through a city on a training run and have to stop for cars (I usually don’t), but while I am running, I am by myself. It allows me time to think. To think about life, school, my future, relationships, and of course running. Training for a marathon involves running for a long time which allows me to think for a long time about all these issues. Running is part of my worship of God; by giving my best out there on the roads, I am giving my first fruits to God, giving back to him with the gift he has given me.
Now of course everyone who ever runs would love to be faster. We say, “I’d love to run a sub 5 minute mile or a 1.5 hour half marathon.” But what runners lose sight of is that God has given them this gift, and to push themselves over the edge (possibly with injury or with competitiveness) is not glorifying God.
Another way to glorify God through running would be running to benefit charity. This finally hit me about July of this summer as I was training to run the Chicago Marathon in October. I was watching a training video online of Ryan Hall and Josh Cox, two phenomenal runners that are both Christians (Hall holds both American records in both the half and full marathons and Cox holds the American record of 50K). They had both run for Team World Vision to raise money for children in Africa as well as money to dig wells for clean water and just improve the overall quality of life over there.
I remember sitting in my apartment this summer, at my desk, and thinking to myself, “You’ve been running all these years to make your own name great, to post great times, and to break records. You’ve been doing it all wrong. It’s not about you; it’s about Him and his people.” So when I picked myself up from the verbal beatdown I gave myself, I decided to join Team World Vision and run to raise money for kids in Africa.
So true Biblical running (if I can call it that) is using the speed and endurance God gave you to run a few miles and hopefully benefit someone else, and probably sweating a little in the process.
—Brayton Kiedrowski, Senior in the Honors Program