Nun on the Run

No really this is it. I’m GOING to blog regularly. It’s just that, in spite of the fact that I have a computer, I’m still something of a luddite (word of the day) when it comes to this web publishing. So I haven’t been getting on here regularly. But Ray’s been doing way too much good work on the design of our website for me to ignore it. Sorry, brother.


Even though I don’t look like the poster-child for Runner’s World magazine, I do actually enjoy running. I like the solitude. I do some great thinking while I’m running. I like lacing up the shoes, putting on the headphones, and “clomp, clomp, clomping” on down the road. And boy do I clomp. A while back I ran in a 5K race. The official registration form actually had a “Clydesdale” category. That’s me.

Imagine my admiration, then, to see a recent feature story on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” about Sister Madonna Buder—the triathlon nun. There are many things that make Buder remarkable. She has run over 300 triathlons. Over 30 of them have been the notorious “Ironman” in Hawaii. She has endured numerous injuries, including a triple fracture of the arm.

Oh, and she’s 77. She didn’t even begin her running career until she was close to 50. At 75 (!), she became the oldest woman to ever finish the Ironman.


Astounding physical accomplishments aside, I also admire the way that Sister Buder sees her running as an extension of her faith. She ran her first long distance race after hearing about a family member’s struggle with alcoholism. She saw it as a way to suffer with th is person. In the “Real Sports” feature, she stops by a hospital before competing in the Ironman, so she can pray with someone. Her faith has become evident to other runners, many of whom ask her to pray for them before events. If you want to, you can read more about her here, or here, or you can just Google “triathlon nun”.


(I wonder what people would Google to find me? Maybe “TV Watching Preacher.” Who am I kidding? That’s most of us.)


I think it’s easy to put the activities of our day into nice, neat categories. “God” stuff (prayer, Bible Study, church) goes here in this box. “Life” stuff (work, school, play, hobbies, family-time) goes there in that box. But that keeps us from seeing how God sustains us in everything. And it leads to a shortsighted walk of faith. We fail to see how God is present in all of the things we do.

I wonder what parts of your life you could start viewing as an extension of your faith. What hobbies do you have? How can they be an opportunity to draw near to God? How can they be a chance to serve others? What about at work or school? How is your job as a parent a spiritual exercise?

The psalmist says “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). May we see today the sacred nature of everything we set out to do.