I did it! I managed to complete my leg of the Belfast Marathon as a member of one of Tearfund’s relay teams. It was a great occasion, with everyone in high spirits. The whole event was bathed in glorious sunshine, and with a cool breeze, the conditions were ideal. It was unfortunate that our Ethiopian colleagues did not get their visas in order to be able to travel so that they could run with us.
There was quite a bit of mutual encouragement and support among the runners as we made our way through the city centre and up the Falls Road. The people along the side of the road clapped and shouted their encouragements as they urged us on. I was worried that the hills might destroy me, but I was pleasantly surprised that we managed to negotiate them comfortably. If I had been running alone, and without encouragement, it would have been a much more painful experience. Is that not a parable of the Christian life?
The most noteworthy aspect of the event, apart from the huge number of participants, was the number of people who were running for charities and good causes, and my running buddy, Ken, observed that there is something distinctly spiritual about this kind of altruistic activity. All kinds of organisations and foundations were represented among the runners, underscoring the fact that there is a huge amount of human need in our world and in our own community. Clearly, doing something for the benefit of others lifts the human spirit and makes people feel good.
My minor success in this event has encouraged me to consider repeating it next year, DV. I just hope that Belfast City Council don’t change the marathon to a Sunday and thereby exclude people like me, and many others, who are committed to the programme of our churches each Sunday.
If you would like to contribute to Tearfund, then go to the Just Giving website and make a generous donation. What an encouragement that will be to our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia!