Ran For a Cause

Finished the marathon course. Met some really inspiring people. Raised some funds for “Imagine No Malaria”. And hopefully also raised a little awareness for the cause.

That’s how I’m answering the question “how did you do?”

As you may recall, I ran the Bass Pro Marathon in Springfield in early November. I invited folks to contribute $1 per mile to the cause of “Imagine No Malaria”, which is a major emphasis of the United Methodist Church and, in 2013, an opportunity for congregations in our Missouri Conference.

So this is my post-race report:

Finished the Course. The first goal in any marathon (26.2 miles) is simply to cross the finish line. That’s often harder than you might think. As the miles go by, the legs tire and slow down – so the mind and will must take over to get past the physical exhaustion. The first 20 miles I ran a good pace, right on goal for a good time – but the last 4 were very tough and slow. Still, crossing the finish line, with my daughter April joining in the last 100 yards, meant accomplishing the main goal.

Met Inspiring People. People run marathons for all kinds of reasons, and many of their stories are amazing. Lots of them ran this one to raise money for various charities. Here are three inspiring people I met:

  1. At packet pick-up there was Steve, from Minnesota, who came to Springfield because the New York Marathon was cancelled. He sported a bright yellow shirt for “Team 4:13” with the verse from Philippians 4:13 on the back to inspire other runners.
  2. Then at mile 2 or so I caught up to Raymond Varner, a fellow Methodist, who was carrying a cross and wore a shirt that said something about missions. We ran together and chatted for awhile. I even tried running with the cross to give him a break, and found how tough it was. I decided that his young legs might be ready for that but mine weren’t. Raymond inspired me and others with the symbolic act. And yes, he finished the race too.
  3. Then there was Peter, who ran with me for a couple of miles about halfway through. He runs marathons to raise funds for breast cancer research, in honor of his mother. He’s running one in every state for it. This was state #44 and Peter has so far raised over $50,000!

Oh, yes, and the people watching along the course, cheering, like a “great cloud of witnesses” encouraging us to “run with perseverance” (see Heb. 12:1). I saw some of them several times at different points. They inspired us all – throughout the race and especially the last .2 mile. Funds Raised. Money still is coming in, but so far we’ve had about _____ people send over $_________. That’s a decent start. Thanks to all the friends, relatives, and fellow leaders in the church who were part of it. You’ve contributed to the vision of wiping out the killer disease of malaria within the next few years.

Awareness. “Imagine No Malaria” is an important cause that we’ll be hearing more about in the coming year. So I hope that my running this race for the cause helped prompt a few folks to think about it a little. Maybe even consider learning more about how it can provide hope of a longer life, a future, for people in Africa who’ve seen countless others die from the disease. Watch for more about it in 2013.

OK, so what does all this have to do with leadership? Well, consider this – Ran the race and achieved the main goal. Met inspiring people. Raised funds. Built awareness for the cause. Do these sound like the kinds of things our pastors and laity leaders do all the time in their daily lives? Hmmmmm . . .

Thanks again for your leadership!