He's probably not the first person nor will he be the last to have a religious experience while running the 26 mile Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. However, House Republican Conference Chairman, Rep. Mike Pence says the experience gave him a much deeper understanding of Scripture.
Here's what Pence wrote on his Facebook page after the race:
Mrs. Pence and I just finished 26.2 miles in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon and we have the limp to prove it!
Karen was running to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children and I was running to support her and to see if I could do it. Our inspiration for the race came in Hebrews 12:1, which tells us to "run the race marked out for you with endurance."
Faith and the encouragement of family and friends carried us the length of the race and although current world records are still in place, we finished the race with a deep sense of accomplishment. There is much to be learned between 15 and 26.2 miles. Each mile marker brings with it a sense of relief but when you cross the bridge in 5 hours you are assured you will be able to finish the race because they close the bridge at 5 hours 15 mins. They call it "beating the bridge". We crossed it at 5 hours 5 minutes.
But with 6.2 miles to go, it's no longer the adrenaline, the crowd, or the training. It is perseverance. Whether you are a world class runner like our niece and nephew or whether you are a duffer like me, it just starts to hurt...a lot. That's when another truth becomes real. In Romans 5, the Bible says, "we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."
In the midst of the blur of those final 6 miles there is suffering, but in the perseverance you sense a strength that you didn't really know was there...and, in that, you experience genuine hope. Not the cliche' hope of these days that comes in the promises of politicians but the kind of hope that springs from knowing who you are, where you've been and that by His grace you have the mettle to make it through. That is real hope. It's the kind of hope we could all use a lot more of these days.
Thanks for the many good wishes and thanks for supporting Mrs. Pence's efforts to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children. Whatever race you are running, run through the pain because you really can and in so doing you will find the hope that resides in God's boundless grace.