Sunday, July 28, 2019

Episode 16: Team 413 - Gracerunner Ministries featuring Founder/Director Chris Gillespie

Episode 16 is available on most podcast apps:  Apple, Spotify, Anchor and Google

Featuring Team 413 "Gracerunner Ministries", a non-profit Christian organization
Chris and Kiki staffing the Walt Disney World Marathon 2018

"Gracerunners" is the term that Chris coins his running chaplains across the world, tens of thousands of them, all of whom wear Team 413 shirts to display their willingness to support and love others unconditionally anywhere, through their running. Faith is thus often a secondary topic, if one "expresses a need for prayer or is seeking guidance". Chris started this nonprofit organization after being paralyzed in a rare running accident, and the story he shares offers some reflection for all of us as to how quickly our running lives can be stopped, and why we should cherish each moment of each day.  He also believes that there is something about distance running that stirs the soul to share our innermost desires and struggles, and inclines us to spiritual life.

Chris was an athletic trainer at the 1996 Olympics in Track and Field, and has been inducted into the national hall of fame for Athletic Trainers.  He has worked with some of the most elite US athletes, and lets this experience and his knowledge of pain through his own comeback to running guide him in conversations with distance runners he finds every weekend out in the field.

It took him over a decade to find his way back to distance running, and fermented the reason why he wanted to be there for others who face similar struggles in recovery from injuries; in running, faith and personal life, by founding Team 413. He and his wife Kiki have now traveled the US and the globe for 17 years to spread their message of their faith in Christ, their unconditional acceptance of everyone and of perseverance in running and in life. Most of all he wants to leave a positive mark on the running world through his beliefs and share the power that his following the gospel message has led to with anyone who wants to hear it.  Chris "doesn't believe we find people in their most need in church pews on Sunday", but rather "at a marathon, on the road or at an expo". Regardless of your religious or non-religious convictions, I believe you will find his story inspiring and compelling to put into action your deepest desires and goals, in running and in life.

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