Athletes in Action uses the language of sports as a platform to reach athletes with the love and gospel of Jesus Christ… sometimes in unique and “radical” ways. The Polar Bear Marathon was such a faith adventure: to reach International elite adventure runners with the message of Jesus’ love.
Six crew vehicles watched out for the runners, including two RCMP trucks, an ambulance, a taxi, and a Manitoba Conservation Officer truck. The group chased away two bears that were seen crossing the road where we the runners ran (Polar Bear Alley).
A gunshot signalled the beginning of the first Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, Manitoba, bringing runners together from various areas of the world.
There were two other events surrounding the marathon Polar Bear Run in Churchill. There was an outreach public event, inviting the community of Churchill to the theater in the Complex Center. There was also an AIA Dessert Night in support of the First Nations AIA Baseball Camps as well as the message of Jesus which was brought to the guests attending that evening at the Canada Inn, Winnipeg, MB.
The crew vehicles carried extra warm clothing, the drink and energy food, and of course bear watchers.
The route took the runners out 21 km where they turned around and came back to Churchill. Though the ran took place on the edge of the arctic, the temperature was thankfully only seven degree below freezing with virtually no wind.
The two runners up front completed the 42 kilometers in just over 4 hours: Garry Koop from Steinbach and Eric Alexander from Colorado. The two runners bringing up the rear were AIA’s Albert Martens and Mike Pierce from San Diego, CA.
These are the words of AIA’s Albert Martens: “Even though it was very stressful to prepare and plan these events, the Lord helped and blessed. I cannot evaluate it, as much of it is in the Lord’s hands. The results I do not know. I do know that it was an outstanding experience.”
Photos credited to Birgit-Cathrin Duval / bcmpress, Germany.