I don’t always read the Sports Section of the Cape Cod Times but on Sunday an article caught my attention that was a keeper. It was the story of John Young, a 53 year old math teacher from a private school - Pingree- in South Hamilton on the North Shore. Young lives in Salem and has been quietly working out for years. He runs marathons and half marathons. He has completed 50 triathlons in all, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he garnered national attention. He found that spotlight by completing his first Ironman Competition. Now the Ironman is a series of marathon races - a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a runner’s marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) raced in that order and without a break. The ironMan Competition has become a classic for 40 years and is held in Hawaii.
But what makes John Young so newsworthy is that he is the first person with dwarfism to complete the Ironman. Young was born with schondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. In Toronto where he grew up they thought running would be bad for him, especially bad for his back.
But what Young discovered was that the opposite was true. At 4 ft 4 in, Young has beat his sleep apnea and lost 30 pounds, all through running. Young believes running saved his life. He raced in the Hyannis Marathon last weekend as part of a personal challenge to do 12 marathons in 12 months. He will complete the year by running in the Boston Marathon in mid-April.
To get a better understanding of what this man has accomplished the Cape paper explained that for most people running a marathon takes 80,000 steps. For someone like John Young it takes twice as many steps. John Young says that his inspiration for running the Hyannis Marathon comes from a man named Dick Hoyt who pushed his son in countless races. His son had cerebral palsy and he was pushed for the entire race in a wheel chair. YOung’s picture in the Times is that of someone who is beaming ear to ear. He has found joy in running. This rigorous discipline has truly given him new vitality and happiness.
I don’t mention John Young here at the start of Lent this week to inspire you to run in marathons, necessarily. However, I am aware that so many of us have races of our own. We have courses to run that often seem endless, or joyless or tedious. But I mention John Young because he reminds me that so often the races of life can be the making of us. They can push us but they can also call for strength we did not know we had. Often they can make us stronger and demonstrate to us if no-one else, that we possess unexpected strength. Young says that his racing saved his life. I believe that some of our challenges, the ones we choose and those that choose us, are all wrapped up in our salvation too.
Happy Lent - Don’t make this season a time of suffering, but a time of spiritual quest, spiritual discipline and spiritual deepening. Don’t make Lent into something to dread or fear; make this a time of refreshment and spiritual nurture.
Start Lent on Wednesday - March 6th
Join us for a Potluck at 5 p.m.
Worship in the Sanctuary at 6 p.m.
tell your friends you can get Ashes to Go at Dunkin Donuts at 10 a.m. - 11:00 on Wednesday.
Grow your spirit through giving this Lent
We have Envelopes for Lent on the Bulletin Board.
Grab an Envelope and then pray each day about how you can help the Church and its mission in the world. Take an Envelope. At Dinner every night pray for all your blessings and consider the gift you want to bring to church on Easter.