Runner for Christ finishes her first Paris Marathon
A Sunday morning jog becomes an outreach project in the suburbs of Paris.
Inter-European Division (EUD)
[France] "I can do everything through Him who strengthens me," Denise and Clarence say, quoting the apostle Paul (Philippians 4:13). That promise may be desired just as much by others who are not beginning a jogging routine like Denise and Clarence began, and they wonder why Denise and Clarence chose this text to be their promise. But these two joggers wanted to be prepared to run 10 km races, and even desired to run a semi-marathon.
They began running Sunday mornings and sometimes managed time for a run during the week as well. While training, they experienced the noticeable benefits exercise has on the immune system, as well as the benefit of stress reduction. In summer of 2018, Denise and Clarence wanted to motivate people to pay attention to their health. They invited others to join them in running. The group began growing and within a year it had become the essential meeting place for Sunday mornings in their town of Vincennes, a metropolitan suburb of Paris.
In addition to health benefits, Denise and Clarence wished to give glory to God by evangelizing on the run. They begin the session with a meditation, followed by a prayer hand in hand, wearing T-shirts with the logo "RUNNER FOR CHRIST." They distribute brochures on health and the Bible.
"The runners, the passers-by, and the pedestrians we meet are impressed by our actions and are delighted to discover our message and our intentions. We regularly have encouragement, questions, and congratulations from people who read the message of our t-shirts, " says Denise.
Denise and Clarence have issued a standing invitation for all: “Get out your sportswear, put on your sneakers, and come to the appointment with the RUNNERS FOR CHRIST every Sunday at 9:00 o’clock, Place du Château de Vincennes. No special preparation is needed except a doctor’s recommendation to participate in sports. Each participant runs at his own pace, warm-up exercises are done together, and the session ends with stretching exercises and thanks to the Lord.”
Denise participated in the 43rd Paris Marathon, April 14, 2019. She was interviewed by a TV crew as she was warming up. She had started training for the event at the end of 2018 and was looking forward to completing her first marathon race in under 4 hours.
Reported by Corine Timofté, Women’s Ministries Director, Franco-Belgian Union
Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2019 Q3, summer issue