A pastor in Missouri ran 153 consecutive marathons to raise awareness for adoption, foster care, and youth mental health.
153 Consecutive Marathons
Last December 2022, the pastor of The Church at Pleasant Ridge in Missouri, Malachi O’Brien, was seeking to beat the record for most consecutive days of running a marathon. His mission is to increase people’s awareness of foster care, adoption, and youth mental health.
He officially succeeded in running a marathon for 62 consecutive days on December 8, 2022, and broke the Guinness World Record.
Yet the pastor, known by the moniker “Dr. Run,” didn’t stop running even after breaking the record. He kept running until he reached consecutive marathon number 153, which he finished on March 8th.
Malachi told ChurchLeaders after finishing his 62nd marathon that his purpose for running was to raise awareness about youth mental health, adoption, and foster care.
Why Pastor Malachi Ran 153 Consecutive Marathons
Malachi told ChurchLeaders that youth mental health and foster and adoption care are two causes close to his heart. He was adopted at the age of three, and his family had adopted from the foster care system.
Furthermore, his oldest daughter attempted suicide around a year ago after struggling with mental health concerns. The incident, according to the pastor, awakened him and his wife to “the crisis” of youth mental health.
“As a pastor, and even as a father, my inability to truly see it for what it was and to truly know what was needed in that moment is what woke me up—I really think it’s an epidemic and a crisis—so I’m wanting to raise awareness around that,” he said.
Initially, Malachi wanted to keep going, but he felt that his “body is breaking down.” Though he is not closing his mind to the possibility of running more in the future.
On the 153rd day of his run, he posted, “Starting marathon 153. Over 4000 miles (1/6 the circumference of the globe) and 900 hours later, this is it. The final marathon. However, it’s not the end. Only the beginning. Stay tuned. Every mile for the glory of God. For revival. To bring mass awareness to youth mental health and adoption/foster care. The miracles of this journey amaze me of the goodness of God.”
Furthermore, the pastor left an important message about running the race.
“You know,” he said, “if you’re a runner and you look behind you, you have a chance of hurting yourself and destroying your future because you might not see what’s ahead of you. And I think people have to stop focusing on the past and really stop focusing on what’s ahead, but live in the now. Even Jesus said, ‘Take no thought for tomorrow’. Why are Christians so worried and anxious about tomorrow when tomorrow may not come? But if we live with intentionality… we can have the most deeply fulfilling and impactful life that revolves around Jesus.”
Header image: Malachi O’Brien [@malachiobrien]. Instagram, 13 March 2023, https://www.instagram.com/p/CptsGzsNBh1/?hl=en
Reference: Church Leaders