Why We Run | More Than a Race

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

– Philippians 3:14

In the words of President Mark Pettus, “If we don’t quit, we win.” We believe that for students to make a lifelong impact on the kingdom of God, they must be able to persevere in the face of difficulty.

“Grit” is often used to describe individuals who embody the characteristics needed to persevere and is defined as courageous and resolved, the strength of character. It is a personality trait developed over time through passion and dedication to a goal despite being confronted by significant obstacles and distractions.

This “grit” is what Paul refers to in Philippians 3:14 when he emphasizes the necessity for believers to “press on” toward the goal of winning the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. In life and ministry, trials and tribulations will come, but with the ability to “press on” comes the steadfastness and faithfulness needed to run the race that God has set before each one of us.

On April 13th, Highlands College, alongside surrounding Birmingham communities, will participate in the annual Half Marathon and 10K. The Highlands College Half Marathon is more than a physical race; it is a test of one’s ability to endure discomfort, push past boundaries, and support each other through each of the almost 28,000 steps that make up the distance.

At Highlands College, our faculty and staff partner with students to develop their character, spiritual foundations, academic integrity, and ministry skillsets. The Highlands College Half Marathon is just one experience in the Character Formation pillar, where discipline, tenacity, and humility are instilled as values in our students’ lives.

From a Student’s Perspective

“Coming into HC as a traditional student, I knew that I didn’t just want to run the race; I wanted to train hard, push my body past what I thought I was capable of, and give it my everything.”

– Josiah Bender, (Highlands College Sophomore)

My name is Josiah Bender, and last year, on Saturday, May 7th, I ran my first-ever half-marathon with Highlands College. I knew that the determination with which I trained for and ran the half-marathon would translate into the different tasks that would come before me in ministry. So, I trained for the race with this mindset: “How I do one thing is how I do everything.”

My goal for the race was to run each mile at a pace of 7:15, finishing just under 1:35. I ended up finishing the race at just under 1:33, with an average pace of 7:03. The Character Formation I gained from the half-marathon started months before the race as I disciplined myself to train on the good days and the bad. The benefits of training and pressing on towards my goal extended far beyond the physical, as drive and determination were cultivated in every area of my life.

At Highlands College, we believe the half marathon is more than a race–it works to develop the endurance and character our students need for life-long endurance in ministry. We recognize the value of community and truly believe we are all better together. Whether you are a seasoned runner or looking for a new challenge, we invite you to join us on April 13, 2024, for the Highlands College Half Marathon and 10K. We can’t wait to see you finish the race and press on together! The best is truly yet to come.

Until the End!