Run for God: The 5K Challenge Review

The Run for God organization provides resources to start a beginner's running program at your church. Learn about these resources.

after a race

Run for God offers resources to deliver a running program to church and community members. Its core product, the 5K Challenge, consists of a coach’s kit for leaders and a student guide that prepares participants for a 5K race over twelve weeks.

The Experience

The Run for God program provides a physical challenge for those new to running. Weekly sessions involve running tips, Bible study, and a coached run.

Depending on the design and execution of the program at the local level, experiences could involve:

  • physical transformation from minimal fitness to the capacity to run a 5K; change may also include greater mental toughness and spiritual strength gained from tackling a new challenge
  • sense of community if challenge participants and leaders learn to support each other and accept support from others
  • greater presence of church members and faith-based groups in the community during run sessions and races
  • opportunity for outreach if running group serves community members who may benefit from goal setting, faith development, and group support

Participants can grow just by completing the basic program. However, you could design sessions for more intentional growth — by encouraging support for each other, offering the course to a special population (for example, recovering addicts at a local shelter), or working toward longer distances.

The Audience

The core program is designed for beginning runners of any age.

Much of the basic content matches the needs of healthy adults in their 30s and 40s.

At one time, the Run for God program offered a 10k/Half-Marathon Challenge. However, the organizers have decided to focus on the 5K program as a pathway to running and faith.

The devotional books (a series of Devotions: Finding God in a Runners Space) are ideal for runners with significant running experience and knowledge of running principles.

The Products

There are many facets to the Run for God program. The core program (with student book and leader’s guide) prepares participants for a 5K run. Lessons cover running skills and Bible study, including ways to understand and share the Christian faith. Offerings that complement and support the program include:

  • Training app
  • Run for God shirts and gear that provoke conversation
  • Online promotion of class sessions that also provides website registration and liability waivers
  • Private Facebook group to share ideas and get questions answered on program implementation

In addition to the 5k materials, there are resources that can help instructors on the Run for God website. These include tips on explaining the program to church leaders and videos with tips on running.

Thoughts on the Program Design and Execution

The Run for God program offers a simple way to start a running ministry. You get a complete package that includes guidance on organizing run sessions, choosing a target race, promoting the 5K challenge, etc. The Facebook community of instructors and leaders is available to answer questions about implementing and managing a program.

If you want to develop the running program further, you’ll need additional resources — particularly if the original participants keep coming back. Group members often want to advance beyond the basics after completing the 5K challenge, so you’ll want to add more content and challenges through other sources.

For example, start sessions with a devotion from one of the Devotions books after you’ve completed the initial 12-week program. Tap the expertise of more experienced runners, community running groups, and certified coaches for guidance on running faster or distances longer than the 5K.

Closing Thoughts

The Run for God program is a complete package to start a basic running program. It’s easy to use and covers key topics relevant to exercising faith and fitness principles. When you’re ready to grow, find and use resources in your community and the Run for God community.

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