By Hank de Jong

I must confess I’m not really a runner.  I’m not a runner, but it does get me going in the morning. Actually, that’s not true. The other benefits of running are what get me going. Ok, you’re confused. Let me explain.

Hank de Jong's running group

Hank de Jong’s running group

I run regularly, 3 week-day mornings a week, with the occasional run on the weekend. I run to give my heart a workout. Earlier this year I completed my first marathon. I’ve done several half-marathons and many 5K and 10K races.  While it may seem I’m a runner from these statistics, the real runners are usually home and showered by the time I finish a race, certainly the long-distance races. Another sidenote confession: I often feel like body-checking the elite guys who barely touch the ground as they prance by me. I’m more of a hockey player who took up running over the past five years because of its health advantages and flexibility (you can run wherever and whenever). Attempting to stay healthy gets me up in the morning.

I’m part of a group that meets three mornings a week at 6 A.M. (sometimes as early as 5 A.M. if we’re going for a “long run.”)  We meet at the beautiful waterfront in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). Seeing, smelling and reflecting on the beauty of God’s creation puts my day in perspective. We have formed a tight group and have heaps of fun together. We usually head out with grumpy faces and little chatter. By the end we form a circle for high-fives, light stretches and lots of laughter. The running ensures I’m up early, helps me focus my day, and gets the blood pumping.

Serving up coffee for Camp Day

Serving up coffee for Tim Hortons Camp Day

Following our run we gather for coffee at the local Tim Hortons, where we have developed great relationships with the staff. This relationship is mutually beneficial. We have been loyal customers for over 5 years. Our loyalty extends to include caroling at Christmastime for all the patrons (whether they appreciate it or not), free flowers for the ladies behind the tills at Christmas and Easter, and volunteering for their annual Camp Day fundraiser. They bless us with significantly discounted coffee and a venue to connect and laugh. Building community gets me up in the morning.

Running with Pastor Betson from Belize

Running with pastor Betson from Belize

Running also allows us to bless and be blessed by others. Through my work at EduDeo Ministries, we often have our international partners come to our office for meetings and presentations. When possible, we invite these folks to the waterfront to join us. On one occasion Pastor Betson from Belize led us in morning sunrise prayer and song. Additionally, running allows me to raise funds for charities I love. The opportunity to bless others gets me up in the morning.

Running for charity

Running for charity

Santa Run 2010

Santa Run 2010

So, I’m not really a runner. Running just provides me with opportunities for other things that really get me going in the morning!

Hank de Jong serves as the executive director of EduDeo Ministries in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada).

Editor’s note: Hear why Hank de Jong runs for EduDeo in this video:

Fieldnotes Magazine is a publication of the Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. We would love to hear from you about people, businesses, or other organizations we can interview or feature. Please email The Editor at Fieldnotes Magazine.

 

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