While some people view turning 50 as a time to slow down, Rev. Tim Hoekstra celebrated his milestone year by running 50 miles (80.5 km) and setting a goal of raising $50,000 for clean water wells in Kenya. His 50-mile run included the 2009 Chicago Marathon.
Hoekstra, pastor of Suburban Life Community Christian Reformed Church in Darien, Ill., was inspired by the Old Testament idea of a year of jubilee for the poor every 50 years. So he combined his love of running with his heart for the poor.
Hoekstra’s training included more than 30 runs of 15 miles or more, lasting several hours a day. He remarked that the grueling regimen has been “an exercise in experiencing my ordinariness and weakness, and watching God take the whole thing over, meeting me there in the road.”
On race day for the Chicago Marathon, Hoekstra and his supporters met for prayer at 1:30 a.m. in a far-western suburb of Chicago. At 1:45 he began running the 23.8 miles to the starting line of the marathon, and then ran another 26.2 miles as a participant in the marathon.
Hoekstra partnered with Team World Vision to plan his run and manage the fund-raising. He has almost reached his $50,000 goal, with donations still coming in.