LAKE WYLIE — Two years ago, a Lake Wylie pastor who brought a couch to 5K Bible study program to the area. Now, he’s inviting the running community to go farther.
The new Run for God 10K and half marathon program will begin Jan. 14.
“I think once they’ve accomplished a 5K and realize they can do it, they want something more,” said Good Samaritan United Methodist Church Pastor Jason Everson, who has finished seven marathons as part of his goal to complete one in every U.S. state. “It’s a natural thing that people want another challenge.”
The nationwide couch to 5K program started with Mitchell Hollis of Dalton, Ga., donning a T-shirt declaring “Run for God” with a stick figure drawing. The program now is run in more than 400 churches in more than 40 states across the country. The program trains participants by walking for a minute and running 30 seconds for 30 minutes three times a week, until eventually being able to run 30 minutes to complete a 5K.
In December, Hollis released the 10K and half marathon program. All programs are 12 weeks.
Everson said the 5K program will continue, as well, with all programs meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 14.
“We’re still figuring out the logistics for running all the programs,” Everson said, as well as locations for the runs.
Everson said unlike the 5K program, which starts off with a slow build, Bible study and guest speakers, the new program will start off running, literally.
“We will run the first night,” he said, following an overview of the programs and Bible study. The half marathon participants will run four miles, while the 10K runners will go for 1 1/2 miles.
“Once you’re ready to run a 10K or half, you probably know what you’re doing,” he said. “They are definitely two different programs. It will be predominantly Bible study program at this point.”
But the main draw also is the community of support.
“It’s a safe way to do it, but it’s also a better chance of success when partnered with other people and community support,” he said, “and to grow in your faith as well. This is a cool way to do it.”
The half marathon program includes four runs a week – tempo, easy, long and fun or “whatever pace you feel like you can do that day.”
The plan, Everson said, is for the groups to run together two of the four runs on Tuesdays and then Saturdays. Workouts are different for each program and the highest per week miles for the half is 27, while it’s 16 miles for the 10K. The longest training run for the half is 11 miles.
“I think it looks solid,” Everson said of the program. “At the end of the program you will be ready to run a half marathon hands down.”
Laura Compton of Lake Wylie led the last Run for God 5K group. Although she finished her first half marathon in the fall, she’s planning to participate in the new Run for God program.
“I’m looking forward to more of a formal training process with Run For God,” she said, “Like tempo runs and hills and the different aspects the program will provide. And it’s always great the more support you have.”
Everson said past 5K participants enjoyed the Bible study and training together.
“The Bible study aspect just enhances it,” Compton said. “I’m looking forward to the expanded program and continued spiritual an physical growth. It helps you keep going when times get tough.”
Everson believes the support the program provides is a bonus to achieving the goals.
“You really can do this,” he said. “It’s entirely possible.”
The new program will culminate April 12 at the Charlotte Race Fest 10K and Half Marathon. The 5K race is to be determined but will be the following weekend.
The book for the programs costs $19, plus the cost of the race and T-shirt.
To sign up or for more information, call the church at 803-831-0304 or Everson’s cellphone at 803-899-1579. Good Samaritan UMC is at 5220 Crowders Cove Road.
Catherine Muccigrosso • 803-831-8166