Run for God is a 12-week training plan that prepares people for a five-kilometer race — but with a Christian focus, organizer Tom Rogers said.
“I think it’s going to unify some of the churches, and of course the running community is really unified anyway,” he said. “It will just give them another thing to be involved in.”
The course will include both group and individual workouts, Rogers said. Participants will meet as a full group on Monday nights in October, November and December for a scriptural devotion and a run. The remaining workouts each week can be completed either individually or with a number of small groups that will be available to join, Rogers said.
At 12 weeks in length, the course is designed to help amateur runners reach a 5K distance at a pace to which their bodies can naturally adjust, he said. Participants will be encouraged to run in the Joplin Family Y’s Chilly 5K Challenge on Jan. 1.
Professionals from the local running community will be available to give lessons on topics such as stretching, eating right and preventing injury, he said.
Rogers said the class will take somewhat of a different approach to running by emphasizing not only a physical workout, but also a spiritual and mental workout.
“I’ve always felt like we’ve said ‘body, mind and spirit’ — that’s everybody’s tag line when they’re talking about wellness, and I’ve always felt like that’s backwards,” he said. “I’ve always felt like it should be ‘spirit, mind and body.’ If we begin to work ourselves spiritually and discover who God is and what our purpose is … then all of a sudden, that mind starts to clear a little bit and people say, ‘Hey, I can do this.’”
Rogers said he ran during high school but gave it up as an adult. He said he then spent about 15 years battling weight and alcohol-related health issues before one day spotting a group of runners jogging up a hill. That sight spurred him into action, he said.
“My health was so poor, I probably didn’t have a whole lot of time left, but it felt like God was calling me to do this and become a runner again,” he said.
Rogers said he has run three marathons this year and has lost more than 50 pounds. But what really draws him to running now is the connections he makes with other runners.
“Most of the joy that comes with running is all the new people that you meet, all the encouraging people that you meet,” he said. “That’s what is really awesome about the running community. It’s never criticism or critique about what you’re doing.”
Rachel C. , PhD
Research Scientist Consultant @ U-VIB
PhD, Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling
NREMT-P (National Registry of Paramedics)
– 911 Medic for over 15 years
– Scientist for over 7 years
– Runner for LIFE
source: The Joplin Globe by Emily Younker