ON APRIL 20, well over 20,000 runners are expected to complete the Boston Marathon (the world's oldest annual city marathon), and a week later, on April 26, close to 35,000 runners are likely to finish the London Marathon. Both events (and the many other marathons that follow later in the year) will be as much a test of mental as physical stamina over 26.2 miles.

Having been a runner for going on 18 years, I've experimented with different training regimens and now spend as much time working on my "mental game" as the physical. This was not always the case. When I first started training for marathons, I found myself very focused on my pace, the mileage, nutrition, stretching, and avoiding getting hurt. In other words, just the physical aspects of running. However, when I strained a leg and wasn't able to compete in my first attempt at a marathon, I realized something had to change. I needed to rework my training program with more focus on the mental and spiritual aspects of it.

When a friend asked me to come out to California to run a marathon with her, I turned to some atypical yet well-proven "training guide books"—the Bible and Science and Health. Through daily study and prayer, I soon realized that my preparation and my actual running provided me with opportunities to express the qualities of the divine Mind, which is God. Before beginning a run, I would remind myself that "Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action" (Science and Health, p. 283). Mind spoke to me as I ran, and fed me with inspiring ideas to propel me forward. I thought of God arming me with strength, making me "as surefooted as a deer" (Ps. 18:32, 33, New Living Translation).

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April 20, 2009

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