Comment: Running the good race

Published on: 9 March 2020

Jon Norman shares the spiritual lessons he learned from running seven marathons in seven days.

In April last year Lewis Blois and I set out on a mission to run seven marathons in seven days to raise money for our new SOUL Church facility. it was the hardest and most gruelling seven days of our lives. We had trained for 12 months straight, racking up nearly 800 miles and wearing out four pairs of trainers in the process, but nothing could have prepared us for what was ahead.

Our physical, emotional and spiritual strength was put to the ultimate test. Each day as I ran, I felt God give me a lesson from the marathon to apply to my daily life.

Fear is part of our lives

I feared starting, the training, injuries, illness and even finishing. It was a continual journey of dealing with fear, I had to re-educate my mind. Fear was never going to go away, I just had to deal with it.

Fear will stop you from experiencing the life God created you to live, sometimes you’ve got to feel it and just keep running.

We all need a coach

I thought I could do it alone, but soon realised I needed help. In walked Neal Featherby from Sportlink Norwich, a professional running coach. He helped me focus on what was important.

in life, we all need a coach, someone who can keep us on the right path, help us make positive choices and focus on what’s important.

Prayer keeps us strong

Before each day we had a routine, we stretched, ate porridge, took supplements but our whole team took time to pray with us. There were times I wanted to quit but our team came alongside and prayed. I could literally feel supernatural strength in those moments, which kept us going.

Pain is a part of life’s journey

As I ran the pain increased each day, mile and step. But I decided to embrace it, not allow it to kill me. I had to raise my threshold for pain – it became my teacher. The battle was won in the mind not just the body, I was battered but not beaten!

Life’s about relationships, not accomplishments

7 in 7 could go down as one of my greatest accomplishment but it made me realise it’s not. The more I ran, I reflected deeper on just how important my relationships with God, my family and friends matter most. It’s not what I have but who I have.

The dream is free, but the journey isn’t

The easiest part of 7 in 7 was coming up with the idea. the hardest part was actually doing it! I wonder how many dreams never get off the ground? I realised that most dreams come in puzzle form and every day we must decide to put a piece in the big picture.

Quitting isn’t an option

I made my mind up before I started, I wasn’t going to quit, whatever it took I was going to cross the line. Sometimes in life, we must decide not to quit before we have the option to.


Jon Norman is married to Chantel and has two children, Justice-Murray aged 5 and Miracle-Joy aged 8. Jon is a Canon of Norwich Cathedral, Norwich City first-team chaplain and Senior Pastor of SOUL Church UK.

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An article in The Big Issue headed ‘Changemakers’ caught Susanna Gunner’s eye. It described a venture called GoodGym which, inspiringly, links exercise with social action. It doesn’t have a specifically Christian foundation, yet it resonates in powerful ways with gospel language, kingdom concepts. She was intrigued and wanted to know more.


Holiday clubs – building faith through fun

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