Guest / Limited Access /

Michael Chitwood had one reason to start running marathons, and it had nothing to do with God.

It was "just me trying to not be fat," says Chitwood, a former elementary schoolteacher. "I had never even run a 5K."

At his first training session for the 26.2-mile event, Chitwood weighed in at 265. The weight came off slowly. And as the training miles increased, so did his sense of God's leading.

"Since my dad died two years earlier,

I hadn't felt much like talking to God. And when I did, what did I get? Static," he says.

But as Chitwood ran, the sense of God's presence grew. He turned off his running mix and tried to listen to God in prayer.

"The change was slow, but there was definitely a change. Not just with my fitness, but deep inside me," he says. By race day, Chitwood had lost 41 pounds.

"The race was great. I felt more physical pain than I had ever felt in my life. I got passed by a guy with one leg. But I finished under 5 hours, 30 minutes."

Less than two years after his first marathon, Chitwood was training for his first Ironman triathlon—a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, followed by a marathon run, no breaks allowed. One day while out on an 85-mile training ride, he was praying when God, he says, prompted an idea: What if I dedicated my next race to raising money to help kids in other countries?

"It was the most personal experience with God I had ever had," he says.

Chitwood says he doesn't even remember putting his bike away that day. He spent the rest of the day writing down all of the ideas that had come to him on the ride. "The ideas came fully and freely, effortless. I knew that not only would ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueFull Members at Age 1
Subscriber Access Only Full Members at Age 1
Are we welcoming children into all of church life?
RecommendedIs It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
Is It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
The Israelites were never subject to withholding upward of 15 percent.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickWhen Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
When Christmas Meets the ‘Umbrage Industry’
If history is any guide, there’s no escaping the hostilities that erupt every December.
Christianity Today
Joining the Race for Clean Water
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.