“I am a child of God and God made me to run. I was born to run,” said Bishop Laurie Haller, one of the entrants in the 2017 Boston Marathon. “By running in the Boston Marathon,” she added, “and in everything I do, my only goal is to praise God and give thanks.”
Bishop Laurie ran, for the tenth time, in the Patriot’s Day race. “I’m going to be running with my youngest daughter, which is a first for her. It will be a great weekend for me.”
Click here to see Bishop Laurie cross the finish line of the 121st Boston Marathon, April 17, 2017.
Bishop Laurie may well be the very first United Methodist Bishop to compete in the Marathon. “I suspect that might be,” she said. “It’s an endeavor that’s very difficult; it’s not for everyone. It takes a lot of time and effort and perseverance…and that’s exactly why I do it – to test myself and challenge myself and see how far I can make my body run.”
Running long distances is nothing new for Iowa’s bishop. She has competed in several triathlons “which is where you run and you bike and you swim,” she noted. She has won several in her class. She’s even competed in all-day “iron man triathlons.” “I’ve always gravitated toward longer distances. The longest distance I’ve run in a race is 50 miles…that was quite a challenge!”
“I like to look at running as wasting time with Jesus,” Bishop Laurie said as she talked about how running feeds her soul. “It’s a way in which, since I was in my 20’s, that I’ve been able to get outside, exercise my body, and to be away from everything, and be with Jesus. I can enjoy nature and God’s good creation.”
“It’s a challenge,” she added, talking about how she’s able to juggle her training schedule with the many many demands of being Iowa’s episcopal leader. “Over the years I’ve discovered that the more difficult my jobs are in my ministry settings the more I need to take that kind of time away.” It helps Bishop Laurie to know that after working all day “I’m going to be out there exercising my body and trying to become a whole person.” Exercising feeds her body, her mind, and her spirit. “It makes me a much better pastor, a much better bishop, and a much better human being.”
When asked if she would encourage others to do something like what she’s doing Bishop Laurie responded by saying
“Running marathons isn’t for everyone, but most everyone can get outside and take a walk, or maybe ride a bike, or maybe find a way to get their body moving, and some way to use the energy that’s in each one of us to take care of ourselves.”
There’s a purpose in all that, she adds. “That we can be out there making a difference in the world!”
Click here to hear the Iowa Conference Conversation with Bishop Laurie about running in the Marathon.