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 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 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.
The advanced program (10k/Half-Marathon Challenge) is under restructuring; the student book seems geared toward very active adults.
The devotional books (a series of Devotions: Finding God in a Runners Space) seem ideal for runners with significant running experience and knowledge of running principles.
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
- 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 churches offer more advanced running programs. These include a running club, devotional books, and guides for longer distances.
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 tips on organizing 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.
You’ll likely need to tap community resources to grow a ministry that reaches participants of all ages, particularly if the original participants keep coming back. Group members don’t need to go over the basics again and again so you’ll want to add more content and challenges.
Supplementary Run for God materials, like the Devotions, could be helpful. In addition, more experienced runners, community running groups, and certified coaches could offer guidance for customizing your training sessions. For example, runners who have mastered the 5K distance could start speed workouts or train for longer distances. Participants in their 50s and older could get insights for their unique training needs.
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. If you’re looking to do more, you can find great resources through this program but you’ll also want to consider sourcing additional materials and expertise.