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Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Before the Altar, Blog, Sunday Homilies | 4 comments

Running with the Church

Running with the Church

January 19th, 2014

(While the Deacon’s preach this Sunday here’s a short account of my BCS Marathon)

Last October I had a brilliant  idea. I thought I’d run the Marine Marathon injured. Physically it didn’t turn out so well. I came back limping, in pain, but with the pride that only finishers know – I did it!! You can read more about that particular marathon here.

However, as that post tells, I also came back with a new understanding of intercessory prayer.  As I used prayer to push through the pain, I noticed that it not only made the  Marine Marathon physically possible but it was actively changing who I was at the core. I don’t pretend to know what happened or even begin to dialogue with eloquence on the inner transformation of the heart, I leave that to poets, but this I do know – the way I prayed would never be the same. I can no longer pray without praying for others.

Then, on the flight home, inspiration hit. Make the next marathon about others!!

Happily I didn’t have much time to sit on that idea and thus forget, chicken or flake out. I was scheduled to run the local Bryan/College Station Marathon in little over a month. Not wanting to lose steam, I hopped on my public Facebook page and made the idea public. That’s where this story really takes off. I wish I could tell you how humbling it is to get nearly a hundred emails in less then a day, all with deep personal stories, all asking for prayers.  Many of the emails were filled with emotional testimonies that would make the hardest and grizzliest of men tear up. I was honored to be trusted with so many concerns and deep prayers. It was a special privilege to read each and then assign them a specific mile.

This was my plan: Each of the 26.2 miles received several petitions. To help with my memory I completely filled up a postcard with each name, accompanied with a note about that petition’s story/need to help me remember.  I then laminated the card to protect it throughout the run.

It was a nice idea.

img06102That was my plan.

I never expected that I’d carry more than that postcard. Each and every mile  I was not only carrying the stories, I was carrying the petition and person. Some miles were harder, some were easier but with each and every step I was surrounded by a chorus of voices. It quickly became not just a marathon but a marathon of stories filled with joys, sorrows, pains, concerns, and desires.

I was running with the Church.

I loved every bit of it! Its the best way to run a marathon!

An added bonus? I shaved nearly 23 min off my Marine Marathon for a personal best complete with a negative split! 4:01:40!!! At the half marathon mark my pace was 9:03 per mile but by the 22 mile mark I was running a 7:57 min per mile pace. If I hadn’t hit a wall on the 26th mile I’m sure I would have finished under 4 hours. Oh well, there’s always next year!


(I’d also like to thank all of the young adults from Framework who came out to cheer me on! Ya’ll are fantastic!)

Below is a picture of me actually holding the postcard in my left hand.



  1. Awesome! Thanks for the prayers Fr. Ryan!

  2. And your prayers for us were answered! Thank you for your prayers, Father, and I love that you experienced this prayer run so completely.

    • Thank you for your prayers Father Ryan! And congratulations on your marathon! 🙂

  3. Thank you for the prayers, Father Ryan.

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