Rails-to-Trails Extravaganza 100M
By: Mark Henderson; 1st Servant, Runners' Church
N ow this race ranked up there as one of the toughest ones for me, and for many others, too--including aid station volunteers! And what could make a rails-to-trails run so tough? The weather, of course! But, let's get to the real reason for me going to these: To bring church to where the runners are; to offer an opportunity to runners to worship in community and to hear a word of encouragement before a run--a run that will take up pretty much the entire weekend and preclude folks from attending a regular church service. This Runners' Church service was hampered by two things, primarily: (1) The Race Management didn't really leave me any time to do a prerace service, even though I tried to coordinate, and to set an RC service start-time that wouldn't interfere with the RD's pre-race briefing and other activities; (2) those blasted 6:00a.m. starts are never conducive to getting folks to the RC service--especially when it's cold and people are hudddled inside way from the elements. Nonetheless, two brave sisters in Christ joined me for a micro-message and a short prayer. I was filled with joy as we started this race in 34F with a light wind, but especially when I got to give a summary of the message I had prepared no less than 5 times on the trail as I met folks on their journeys! That was great and one of the unexpected joys of this race. I met some great folks, both on and off the trail, meaning runners and volunteers/support crew. But perhaps the most notable for me was Rob. I'd met Rob at the Heartland a couple weeks prior, and we'd shared some good conversation. I remembered Rob was from KC, but as a contract nurse, was working out of Philly. When I came in to the Welda aid station around 69 miles, TOTALLY soaked after several hours running in torrential downpours, with winds and 34F, my previously warm, DRY gloves, with brand-new hand-warmers inside were completely filled with water and the hand-warmers completely extinguished and nothing but wet, cold clay.t I'd "misplayed" my glove placement, and somehow, was faced with the choice of proceeding with 1 thin dry glove, or going bare-knuckled, so to speak. I was opting for the latter when Rob (here volunteering) said, "Here, take my gloves. I have another pair in my truck." The brother literally gave me the gloves off his hands! He said he just wanted to see me finish. Now if that's not some Jesus-love, I don't know what is. As an added exclamation point of LOVE-LOVE-LOVE, Rob was there waiting at every single aid station after that, and then the finish. All I can say is that I was trujly humbled, but also just overjoyed to see the Love of Christ on full display in a fellow brother. Thank you, Rob, and may God bless and keep you! Footnote: This was the last of three 100-Milers in as many weeks. I did get a little banged up in this one (left knee), but was so thankful to our loving Creator for giving me good legs to go the distance. Thank you, Lord!
"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever."~Proverbs 10:25