Running, Faith and Friendship: What’s the Connection?


A while back I watched a documentary about a project [organized by Nike] to break the 2-hour barrier of a marathon completion time. I won’t spoil the whole thing for you in case you decide to watch it but I do want to talk about one part. While the runner is officially performing his attempt at beating the record, he has 3-5 runners also running in a pack with him. I did a little research (since I’m definitely not a runner) and found out that these additional runners are called pacesetters or pacemakers or rabbits. Their goals, in the case of an attempt at a record-breaking run, are the following:

  • Offer a visual reminder of where the record-holding runner would be at each point in the run
  • Help the runner keep an efficient and effective pace throughout the whole run
  • To act as a wind resistance barrier (drafting) for the runner

As I watched these pacemakers joining the race alongside the key runner, I couldn’t help but think of it as the perfect analogy for a Christian community. (And why not?! How many times in the Bible is the Christian life compared to a race?) With Jesus as the ultimate version of perfect love and friendship, we are encouraged to offer each other the same things as these pacemakers:

  • Offer a reminder of Jesus’ words in the Bible that give instruction and wisdom for every stage of life (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
  • [Together] continue to move through life patiently, purposefully living each moment as witnesses to the love God gives us with daily thanksgiving, joy and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
  • Carry each other’s burdens and lovingly hold each other accountable (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Amazing, right?! That sounds like a race I’d participate in.

If you ever watch the documentary (Breaking2 – I highly recommend it), watch for those packs of runners. Let that image rest in your soul for awhile. Think about how encouraging it feels when you know you have others surrounding you and genuinely rooting for you. Think about who around you might need you to join their race and offer them some support, grace and prayer.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for creating us with the heart for community. It’s amazing to know that you want us to do this life together with each other and with you. Please help us to look for ways that we can be a good pacesetter to those in our lives. Help us to not take for granted those who fill the roles of pacemaker for us. Remind us daily the “where” and “why” of our race so that we can stay strong to the finish. Amen.

Photo by Rosemary Ketchum:

Recent Posts


Leave a Reply