On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Catholic high school up the road holds an annual 5K to support their special education program. Last year’s race was the first 5K I’d ever participated in. Granted, I walked for most of it, but I had a great time and it made me realize that people who do these things are NOT looking down their noses at those of us who are slow and out of shape. Everyone is there to have a good time and to support a good cause. Everyone cheers for each other. We applaud the ones who finish first, and applaud the ones who don’t. We encourage the ones who are struggling. Some run for speed, some not; and some walk. We’re all there for one purpose.
This year I took a young friend with me (My goddaughter, A. She and her mom ran in the Turkey Trot with me in Williamsburg) who is on the cross country team at the school. We headed to the chapel for a pre-race Mass, where I met some members of the Woodbridge, Virginia chapter of Life Runners. I joined that organization recently, mainly because a). it is a good way for me to be more active in the pro-life movement; and b). it gives me a reason to keep running. Who better to run for than Christ and the Unborn, after all? I met the director of a mobile pregnancy resource center, who told me that when she was in the Legion of Mary, she was assigned to sidewalk counsel at an abortion center–which was something that she would never have dreamed of doing. I don’t know if I would be up to that task, frankly. Later she felt called to volunteer for a pregnancy help center, and ultimately to start one herself. The local chapter of Life Runners actively supports that particular center, as well as Save the Storks and other national organizations.
After Mass (where Father told us about Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, whose feast day we were celebrating that day, and who cried “Viva Cristo Rey!” at the moment of his martyrdom–WOW) we gathered at the start line where we prayed the Life Runners Creed:
We believe in the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. We run as a Prayer, that children in the womb may be protected, so that they may be born and welcomed into the Christian community by baptism. We run to build Endurance, for the race is long and we must keep our eyes fixed on You Lord. We run for Awareness, that the eyes of all people may be transformed and see every human life as a reflection of Your glory Lord. We run for Charity, to provide Truth for mothers and fathers tempted to abort their child…and healing support for post-abortive women, men and families. We run to End abortion, for Christ has destroyed the power of death, and therefore the power of abortion. Guard us all, born and unborn, with Your PEACE, Lord. For in You, life is victorious. We pray and run in Your name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (source: liferunners.org)
I told myself I would make a point of memorizing that prayer, and pray it while running and before every race I do. I still haven’t memorized it, and I think I prayed it once before one of my runs. I did wear my Life Runners t-shirt in the last two 5Ks I ran, though; I think it will be my standard racing attire–“racing” is used here loosely, of course. I’m just happy to finish!