A Harrisonville, Mo., pastor recently ran his 153rd consecutive marathon to raise awareness of adoption, foster care and youth mental health.
Malachi O’Brien of The Church at Pleasant Ridge in December entered the Guinness Book of World Records for running a marathon daily for 62 days.
O’Brien told Metro Voice he and his wife wanted to do something to highlight the need for adoption and to make a positive statement. He was adopted when he was 3 years old, and he and his wife recently adopted a child through the foster care system. They are also passionate advocates for mental health care. The couple realized the mental health crisis among youth last year after their oldest daughter survived a suicide attempt.
“I thought I could go forever, and I want to keep going,” he says. “I want to see how far I can push the limit, but I can tell my body is breaking down.”
O’Brien, who Metro Voice caught up with at the premier of Queen Esther at Sight & Sound in Branson, said his initial goal was to run 151 marathons. That’s because it was one more day that 32-year-old Australian female runner Erchana Murray-Bartlett, who completed the feat in January. However, he changed the goal to 153 days following a conversation with Eric Metaxas about the “magical number from the gospels.” The number 153 is found in John 12:11, when Jesus told his disciples to cast down their nets on the right side of the boat to catch fish: “So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.”
“Starting marathon 153,” O’Brien wrote on the day of his last marathon. “Over 4,000 miles (1/6 the circumference of the globe) and 900 hours later, this is it. The final marathon. However, it’s not the end. Only the beginning. Stay tuned. Every mile for the glory of God. For revival. To bring mass awareness to youth mental health and adoption/foster care. The miracles of this journey amaze me of the goodness of God.”
O’Brien now plans to attempt to break the world record for the most consecutive half-marathons and most consecutive half-marathons on a treadmill.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice