Adrian, Lebanon 2017
Adrian chose to run in the Lebanon Muskathlon in 2017. Here is his story.
What prompted you to take part in the Muskathlon?
I did the Great North Run in 1985 but since then I haven't run more than about 5 or 6 miles. I first heard about the Muskathlon at the Open Doors Speakers Conference last year. There was something that just struck a chord in me and I knew I needed to find out more. I'm 56 and I don't have many more years of being able to do something like this so I signed up. I'd planned on a trip this year to visit my persecuted family anyway so I thought this would be something a bit different and I would be able to raise some money at the same time.
What were the standout moments of the trip for you?
There is a large rock off the coast which we were able to reach by boat. We swam in the sea and enjoyed a time of teaching and worship there. One song in particular was about stepping out on the water and putting our trust in Jesus which felt very relevant for the Muskathlon. It was really special.
Also finishing the event was a big highlight! A real mixture of relief and elation!
What were the biggest challenges of the trip?
The training beforehand. I started training about 8 months beforehand and then I injured myself so I had to have Physiotherapy and to go to a Podiatrist. There is also a real battle of the mind, especially around the 20 and 22 mile training runs. Sometimes you feel sick, sometimes you feel you can't go on and you know that you'll be exhausted for the rest of the day. There were times of real enjoyment and rhythm but it required a lot of discipline. When you do something as physically demanding as this, you start asking yourself if you can actually manage it. But God is faithful.
How did you find the fundraising?
The fundraising was tough. £10,000 is a lot of money and I don't live in the richest of areas. There would be quiet periods and you'd think people didn't seem interested but then suddenly someone would surprise you with a large cheque. There were many little encouragements like that.
How did God encourage you along the way?
The run required a lot of perseverance but there were some times of real encouragement. At one stage I saw some yellow butterflies that I had never seen before. They were like little angels, a reminder that God was there. Another time I heard two other team members singing a worship song with the lyrics 'Saviour, he can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save' Whilst God didn't move the mountain, it did give me momentum for the next few miles!
What touched you most when you met the persecuted church?
It was very moving to listen to the stories of the refugee families and hear what they were going through. One lady spoke of how God had used her children to bring her to Christ and she was so full of joy, but her brother had forbidden her children to go to school or to church. You realise how difficult it is for people - one camp has even burned down since we were there.
The pastors we met had incredible faith and vision. One has had at least two death threats. Another was saying his family is in America and he can't be with his wife for more than a short time. There are many ordinary people doing extraordinary things and it's hard but they keep going faithfully.
How has this experience changed you?
I have lived abroad and visited other countries in the past so it wasn't totally new for me but it was a reminder that God is faithful because I did start off wondering if I could do this. I was also encouraged seeing God at work in other people.
What advice would you give to someone else who is considering taking part in a Muskathlon event?
Luke 14:28-32 talks about not building a tower without first laying the foundations and I would say to go into the Muskathlon with your eyes open. It's a challenge that will absorb a lot of time and energy. I was determined to do it and to the meet the people and just to enjoy it. It's also a good idea to have a support group like a bible study group who can encourage you and help with finances. And join a gym or a running club!