Marathons are all about good news, though if you tell me that at three o’clock on the 24th April I may disagree. But, on a fundamental level, the marathon’s origins are more about the telling of good news than they are about athletics.
In September 490BC, Pheidippides burst into the assembly in Athens, informed the gathered leaders that their army had defeated the Persians at Marathon, and then promptly collapsed and died. He had ran from the battle with one job — to be a messenger of the good news. The marathon was born.
People run marathons for many reasons, some for the challenge, some for fitness purposes, a small handful even run to try and win. But there are still a surprising amount of people who run marathons to declare good news.
When my good friend Duncs and I line up in Greenwich in less than three weeks time, we hope to run in the knowledge that, while it may hurt us, it will be good news for many. (You can sponsor us to do so using Virgin Money Giving.)
The good news we want to carry is the same good news that an itinerant Jewish Rabbi brought as he roamed the countryside of Palestine two thousand years ago. He announced that he had come to “proclaim good news to the poor”.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18–19 (ESV)
We’ve chosen to raise funds for Compassion, a charity that does exactly that. Compassion are dedicated to fighting poverty, have won awards for their effective use of donations, and are active in 26 of the poorest countries in the world.
There is a Greek word, Sozo, that means whole, complete. It’s at the root of the word salvation. It means that Jesus didn’t just come to care about the spirit, but also about mind, body and soul. He didn’t just care about eternity — He cared about right now. I believe Compassion is a charity that reflects this heart.
Compassion’s primary method is to help a child by direct sponsorship, and by doing so they help the child’s family and community too. Over 2,000,000 children worldwide are in the Compassion programme and each one is ensured healthcare, education, nutrition and community.
It means that Jesus didn’t just come to care about the spirit, but also about mind, body and soul. He didn’t just care about eternity — He cared about right now.
I have had the privilege of visiting a Compassion project in Tanzania and seeing this first hand; it really does work.
The funds raised from our run will help to complete a project to build hygienic toilet facilities at the centre in Magu Town, Mwanza. 786 people a week use this facility and presently have no hygienic way of going to the toilet. With your help almost a thousand people will benefit not only from the dignity of proper toilet facilities but the improved health that comes with better hygiene.
With your help almost a thousand people will benefit not only from the dignity of proper toilet facilities but the improved health that comes with better hygiene.
Neither of us have ever ran marathon distance before; beyond ParkRuns I’ve never entered any organised run or race. But I know that we measure history and time from the birth of a man who came to declare good news, that marathons exist because another man ran to declare good news, and that with your help? Duncs and I can run to bring good news.
I hope you’d consider sponsoring us, in the knowledge that you will change lives. You can do so easily using Virgin Money Giving.