Life, death and resurrection in Boston

Bishop Laurie Haller and daughter Talitha at the close of the 121st running of the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2017. ~photo Iowa Conference

“Simply put,” says Bishops Laurie Haller, “the marathon is a metaphor for the Christian life.”
BISHOP LAURIE HALLER
Iowa Conference

I don’t know exactly why, but I keep going back! I am running in my tenth Boston Marathon today. My first Boston Marathon was in 1999, and I fell in love with this granddaddy of all marathons.

This wasn’t my first 26.2 mile race, however. Boston is a race for which you have to qualify. That’s one reason it is so special. For amateur athletes like myself, qualifying for Boston is never a given. It takes determination, persistence, and a little craziness. That’s why my oldest grandson first began calling me Crazy Grandma.

I never took up running as a child because there was no such thing as girls track or girls cross country. Yes, I am old. However, I did play just about every other sport in which girls were allowed to compete, including field hockey, basketball, softball, and volleyball. I began running at Yale Divinity School as a way to keep in shape when I no longer had the opportunity to play team sports.

After a few years, I decided to challenge myself. My first running competition was a 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) race in May, 1980. I was an organist and choir director in a United Methodist church at the time, and the race started at 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. It just happened to be Communion Sunday. When the 11:00 a.m. service ran quite looooong, I realized that if I stayed to the end, I would miss the start of the race. I whispered to a choir member who was also an organist and asked if she would play the last hymn and a postlude. I slipped out at 12:30 p.m., drove as fast as I could to the start (in another town) and was in place just seconds before the race began. Thanks be to God, I wasn’t fired from my job. Prevenient grace at its best!

Why am I still running, 37 years after my first race? I often call running “wasting time with Jesus.”

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