"Two years ago, my wife and I were living in Menominee, MI but I returned to Eau Claire to interview for the lead pastor position at Valleybrook Church. It was Eau Claire Marathon morning and our view from the church allowed us to witness firsthand how special this event is to the community. I was offered the position one week later and we started making plans to move, but first, I had major leg surgery. My quad muscle suffered a complete tear from a kickball accident while on the playground with some middle schoolers. The surgery required "pulling down the rolled-up quad muscle" and reconnecting it with cadaver tendons. The road to recovery required significant physical therapy.
I registered for the 2018 Eau Claire half marathon as incentive to run again, and as a celebration of our return to Eau Claire. Members of my church staff team joined me in running the half. We soon found a way for other members to get involved with the race by moving "the church" outside the building and into the streets. The Barstow Block Party was more than just serving free pancakes and cheering on runners at Mile Markers 9 & 22. It was a way to partner with local businesses and help give back to the community. On race morning, Barstow Street became a perfect example of the metaphor of "running the race with perseverance" as we help runners reach the goal of finishing the race. It became clear that we are all better when we work together.
I signed up for the half marathon again this year, and was unintentionally the very first registrant of the 2019 race (I joke it's the only first place I can get at my age). More importantly, everyone can count on the Barstow Block party being there in full force. It sure is a weekend to look forward to."