"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -- Philippians 4:13
I didn't know if I could run 13.1 miles that day, but seeing that verse on the shirt in front of me gave me hope, inspired me, and may well have been the difference that helped me finish the race. When I saw it I immediately told myself, "I have to have a shirt with that verse to run in." Now I run every race with that verse on my back and next year, on 4-13-2013, we'll be running the first ever race sponsored by and benefitting TEAM 413 Gracerunner Ministries.
In that first half I knew nothing of TEAM 413. I had only seen the verse on the back of the shirt, not the TEAM logo on the front. It would be about a year later before I got a shirt with the inspirational verse, one I designed after my daughter died for our (then) new ministry here at Running with Amanda. I still knew nothing of TEAM 413.
Then my friend Jesse bought and wore one of their shirts when we ran the Marine Corps Marathon. Afterwards, I got online and looked up the organization and joined their Facebook group. It wasn't long before TEAM 413 founder Chris Gillespie read our story and sent me a complimentary shirt.
I still race in our Running with Amanda shirts, but am proud to call myself a member of TEAM 413. I can't begin to count the number of people who have passed me or whom I have passed in races that told me the encouraging verse was just what they needed at that instant. A few times it has led to in depth discussions of faith and the love of Christ.
With thousands of members around the world racing with the word of God on their backs, TEAM 413's impact for Christ can't be measured. But those of us who run as proud TEAM members know that impact is huge.
Gillespie started this ministry in 2003 after a terrible accident that led doctors to predict he would never run again. But just as the apostle Paul said in his letter to the church at Philippi, his faith in Christ not only got him back into racing, but running to spread the Good News of all that can be overcome through that faith.
On April 13, 2013, the first ever TEAM 413 race will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. Proceeds from the half marathon and 4.13K races will help fund the ministry to Get There and Share at races across the country.
TEAM 413 needs you to help spread the love of Christ throughout the distance running community. Please make it a point to join us in St. Louis next spring! If you're in, please go to the Facebook event page and let the world know you're supporting this great ministry.
This will be a great race for a great cause! We'll be there and hope you will join us!
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.