Pressing On | The Highlands College Half Marathon and 10k

If you spend time at Highlands College or with our students, you may hear the phrase, “If we don’t quit, we win.” This has been our key phrase of encouragement as we, the students, prepare for our annual Half Marathon and 10k. It is crucial that our students not only walk in the call of God for their lives but that they develop a deep endurance to overcome hard things throughout their lives and ministries. It’s not just a race to the finish line; every step is run with purpose, and we are committed to finishing strong. Pushing ourselves to press on when things are hard is truly where the rubber meets the road, and we build character. This process is a key part of what is taught in our character formation pillar. As our students prepare to run, we are praying for a new level of encounter with God as they press on and finish strong. Some of our students will be running their last Highlands College Half marathon and 10k as a student in just a few days, and we are so excited to run alongside them as they step into the next step of their journey toward being all that God has created them to be. 

Whether you are a current student, first-time runner, alumni, or are interested in Highlands College– we thought the best way to showcase the importance of the Highlands College Half Marathon + 10k is to let the voice of our student body articulate the meaning behind the race. As our HC family presses on to the Half Marathon + 10k, Saturday, May 7, we asked a handful of students about their experiences and how previous races and training has impacted them. We hope you enjoy what they had to say. 

Q: What did you learn from running the race? 

“Overall, in my experience with the Half Marathon, I surprised myself. I am not a runner. And knowing I’m not a good runner, I had to be brave. I had to change my mindset going in. Choosing a mindset of, “I can do this.” A mindset of “just push through, we will make it.” When I say we, I mean God and me. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed something more than what I had to offer. And God did that for me. He gave me the strength I needed to finish strong. I know that God was with me throughout the Half Marathon. Never in a million years did I think I could run 13.1 miles; it’s not something I thought I could ever do.” – Tony Cornejo (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 

“Something I learned from running the Half Marathon was the importance of leaning on God. I’m not a huge fan of running, so the Half Marathon was hard. I often found myself wanting to give up. But then I remembered I want to finish & most importantly, why we are doing it. Highlands College isn’t just making us do this for fun; they want to build our character.” – Immanuela (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

“God has built me to do things that I never thought I’d ever be able to do.” – Jalen Moore (Highlands College Alum)  

“I learned that preparation is essential.” – Richard Meadows (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 

“As simple as it sounds, the number one thing I learned while doing the race was that I could do it. Coming to Highlands College, I knew that physically I would not be able to complete Expedition and the Half Marathon. That was until staff and students encouraged me and believed that I could do it. Now I know coming into my second Half Marathon that I can do it even if it’s on a bike.” – Lauryn Wood (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

Q: What advice and inspo can you give a student running for the first time? 

“I would say run to worship music. Remind yourself constantly that you’re doing this to grow. You’re doing it to deny your flesh. To show yourself that you are so much stronger than you think you are and capable of so much more than you know. Anytime a negative thought comes into your head, speak truths out loud over yourself. It’s going to be hard, but not impossible. Don’t discourage yourself before you see what you can do”.- Immanuela (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

“On the other side of all the emotions and pain you feel is victory.” – Jalen Moore (Highlands College alum)  

“It’s a mental block that you’re placing on yourself. Yes, physically it’s going to be difficult, but imagine how you will feel once completed at the finish line.” – Lauryn Wood (Highlands College 4th semester student) 



Q: What makes the HC half marathon and 10k set apart from other races? 

“The meaning behind it. You’re working hard for God. We’re doing it, and it’s hard, but we’re doing it for God. I think that is what makes it different from other races.” – Richard Meadows (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 

“This race is set apart because we aren’t just running to get a medal, to win a race, or just for fun. This race is about showing yourself that you are strong & you are even stronger when you lean on God. We are running 13.1 miles to strengthen our Spirit.” – Immanuela (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

“You are with your family, and family stays together. They help one another when one is in need.” – Jalen Moore (Highlands College alum)  

“I love what Highlands College does during the Half Marathon because they will set you up for success by celebrating you along the journey.” – Tony Cornejo (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 

“The entire school and community coming out to support. Here at Highlands College, we have a saying, “If we don’t quit, we win.” meaning we don’t leave until we’re done. You are cheering on your family as they cross the finish line no matter how long you are there!” – Lauryn Wood (Highlands College 4th semester student) 


Q: What was the most challenging part? 

“The most challenging part, aside from the running, was me. I

 tend to get in my head a lot & tell myself I can’t do something before I try. I tend to jump to worst-case scenarios, but it became better once I learned not to entertain the enemy.” – Immanuela (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

“The most challenging part was when the cramps kicked in, and I had to choose whether to stop or keep going even if I had to walk.” – Jalen Moore (Highlands College alum)  

“When you hit your mental block is probably the most challenging. However, the best part is defeating it and knowing you did your best.” – Lauryn Wood (Highlands College 4th semester student) 

“There will be a point you are running when you just want to go home; that was the most challenging part for me. But God will give you the strength when you need it and ask for it.” – Tony Cornejo (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 


Q: What was your favorite part?

“My favorite part was seeing my brothers and sisters run across the finish line” – Jalen Moore (Highlands College alum)  

“My favorite part was the end. Not just because I was finally done, but because I was so amazed. I was genuinely shocked I didn’t pass out or my legs didn’t fall off during running. At that point, I was so filled with joy that I got to see God’s power through those hard moments.” – Immanuela (Highlands College 4th semester student)

“My favorite part was probably towards the end, where I felt the presence of God within me. I could have quit, but I kept hearing the Spirit say, ‘Don’t quit. Just finish. Keep going.'” – Richard Meadows (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 


Q: What would you say to a person unfamiliar with the HC half? 

“There is a reason we do it! The reasoning behind it is very intentional. Once you finish, I guarantee you’ll take something important away from it. It’s difficult, but that’s kind of the point. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!” – Richard Meadows (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 

Doing something I thought I could never do & getting out of my comfort zone increased my faith and challenged what I thought my limits were. God used the Half Marathon to show me the things I never thought I could do in life are more than possible. He used it to exceed my expectations.” – Tony Cornejo (Highlands College 3rd semester student) 


If you’re interested in running the Half Marathon or 10k with the HC family, we would love to see you on Saturday, May 7th! Support students as they press on to do what they thought they couldn’t and finish the race set before them. Click this link to register!

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 

Until the End! 




This article was written by students Mary Griffin (left) and Sydney Parker (right).

Originally from Huntsville, AL, Sydney is currently a 3rd-semester student in the Worship Leadership practicum. From Birmingham, AL, Mary is a 4th-semester student in the Pastoral Leadership practicum at Highlands College. They are best friends and both equally passionate about creativity and storytelling. Sydney through writing & worship and Mary through full-time photography.