In what has become an annual event at Hope Chapel, about half our adult population and a significant number of our teens and children cheered several hundred Austin Marathon runners as they whizzed through our neighborhood.
Led by Suzi Raines and Jennifer Boltz, this yearly effort has become a highlight for many of us at Hope Chapel. We hold our Sunday worship service on Saturday night and then turn out as many as possible on Sunday morning to hand out water and Gatorade, cheer on runners, and just have fun together.
Because we are an official charity and water stop along the route, Hope Chapel also has the privilege of setting up a ‘booth’ at the Parmer Expo Center where each of the 10,000 or so runners must obtain their official ‘bib’ which displays their participant number and other gear. While there we told runners who stopped by that we would pray for them, is that was something they preferred. 34 said, “Yes!” to that offer.
We also offered to cheer runners by name. 107 gave us their bib number and we were able to help energize each participant by shouting their names and encouraging them in this personal way. Several were so delighted they stepped out of the race to give us hugs.
I enjoyed the entire weekend. It started while I was helping Jennifer staff Hope Chapel’s booth at the Expo where we handed out packets of EmergenC with Hope’s business card stapled to it while talking to runners about cheering them on or praying for them.
I took a break during a slow spell and walked around the expo gathering swag and talking up other exhibitors. At the GEICO tent I won a cool t-shirt and a runner’s massage in perpetuity and got a photo with their mascot.
On Sunday morning I participated in the shortest of all runs–the 5K (3.2 miles), where I clocked a smooth 39.02 minutes (just under 13 minutes per mile). I was pleased. I was trying to break 15 minutes per mile which is only a fast walk. Here is what your intrepid runner looked like just after crossing the finish line.
Whether you participated in the event in some form, or just enjoyed a Sunday off, you should know that Hope Chapel has built and continues to enjoy a great reputation in the city for being a group of people who love others, finding ways to substantively serve others.
I look forward to serving Christ by serving others in our city with you all during the Marathon next year.
Here’s a video shot by Suzi Raines for your viewing pleasure: