Saturday, November 21, 2009


Today was the Sixth Annual Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya ( ). This great community in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas continues to draw runners from all over the country, as they run (or walk) for the very worthwhile cause of helping the children of Katito and Kiserian in Kenya, Africa. The amount of money raised over the past six years is almost $100,000!!! The license plates of vehicles I saw in the parking lot this morning included California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Iowa, Georgia, and Ohio!

As a First Place 4 Health leader, I was delighted to see so many First Place 4 Health members and alums, either participating in the walk/run themselves, or serving as a volunteer in some capacity to make the event run smoothly. In fact, Race Director Laurie Kasinger is herself a First Place 4 Health alum. During one of the First Place classes, she shared with the group that one of the reasons she envisioned this event several years ago, was because she loved running, and she wanted to put her love for running into serving God somehow. Since the Bible tells us that when we are serving others, we are, in fact, serving God---then this event is definitely fulfilling the purpose for which she intended it. Hundreds of children in Africa have benefited from the resources generated through the Mountain Home Marathon for Kenya. The World Vision humanitarian service organization is the arm of outreach that turns money raised in Mountain Home, Arkansas, to tangible benefits in the distant land of Kenya.
You have probably heard stories about athletes who have certain rituals that they feel they must do in conjunction with their particular competition, and I am no exception. The ritual (perhaps "cherished tradition" would be a better term) is having my photo made with my pastor, Dr. David Johnson, and his lovely wife Roxanne. The photo collage shows our mug shots over the last several years (note also the various colors of our official event T-shirts). The 2009 photo is the one in the upper right hand corner of the collage below:

It takes LOTS of volunteers to put on an event of this magnitude, and some of them are shown in this collage: Registration workers, medical personnel, sound/music guys, volunteer food preparers/food servers, volunteer massage therapists, finish line time keepers, and, of course, the Race Director, Laurie Kasinger. She is shown in center photograph, along with Master of Ceremonies, Dr. David Johnson. There were also dozens of volunteers out along the many miles of Baxter County traversed by the full marathon participants, although they are not pictured here. Then there are the faithful sponsors who provide so much financial support: Regional Family Medical Center, Cardiovascular Group, North Arkansas Medical Associates, Mountain Home Real Estate, Baxter County Regional Hospital, First Baptist Church /MH, and Arkansas State University/MH. A big THANK YOU to all! All these people are illustrations of Hebrews 12:1 that says "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Marathon Miles of Smiles! Tricia
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