Although she has only been a runner for a short period of time, Laura Mitchell felt God was telling her to take a step of faith. He wanted her to use her newfound hobby as a way to minister to others. Eventually, doors opened for her to fulfill that call. This past April, Laura started a Bible study called Run for God at Lima Community Church.
What is Run for God?
Run for God is a 12-week couch to 5K training program combined with a weekly Bible study. Founded in Dalton, Georgia by Mitchell Hollis, Run for God was birthed out of a challenge given to Hollis: to not let his love of running take the place of God. Hollis knew he needed to turn his running over to God and eventually held the very first Run for God class in 2010.
Since then, the program has expanded nationwide. Run for God classes are often held in churches by instructors such as Laura. The program is designed to help the first-time athlete take those first few steps in their running shoes. But also, it’s meant for the experienced runner who wants to grow in their faith. Sessions contain a spiritual lesson, often applying a verse such as Hebrews 12:1 to the challenges people face as an endurance athlete.
From Shoes to Stretching
Support is one of the things that makes this program so amazing. Class participants meet after each Bible study for a group run. Several of the sessions feature guest speakers to talk about everything from running shoes to gear to injury prevention.
Physically, the program builds on your accomplishments. It begins with a heavy walk routine, increasing week by week with how much you run. Eventually, it leads up to the Week 8 twenty-minute group run. This often seems like an unattainable goal during Week 1, but the way this program builds gradually gives your body the endurance it needs to finish.
As a part of their class prep, Run for God instructors will select a 5K event as the graduation race. Laura picked the Freedom 5K, a popular 4th of July race in Lima. As it turned out, a nearby community also had a Run for God group participate in this race!
We are called to be a light to the world. With both groups running in the Freedom 5K, God was planting seeds in each runner who saw the Run for God logo on their shirts. It’s a great reminder to be willing to tell our story to anyone who we might come in contact with!
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