The president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Norway, Victor Marley, has raised more than 55,000 Norwegian kroner (approximately €5,400 Euros, or US$6,000) for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) by running a marathon alongside Scotland’s famous Loch Ness. He said he was delighted with both the donations and the outcome of the race.
“I am very happy with my time, because my goal was to run in under four and a half hours,” Marley said after the October 6, 2019, run. It was his first marathon, and he finished at 4:12:48.
For Marley, it was more than physical effort, however; it was also mentally demanding.
“You want to stop and walk for a while, but it wouldn’t have worked for me,” he explained. He received strong support from family, he said, who cheered him on at selected posts along the route.
Supporting Children’s Education
Marley has been running for many years but had never before attempted the more than 42 kilometers of a modern marathon. He was inspired, he said, by the opportunity to combine his desire to reach a personal goal with his aim to collect money for some of the world’s poorest children.
Using a Facebook campaign, Marley raised money for ADRA’s education program for children and young people. He then raced wearing the ADRA campaign t-shirt, “Every child. Everywhere. In school.”
Just two days after the marathon, Marley collected a little more than 55,000 Norwegian kroner.
“This is absolutely amazing,” exclaimed ADRA Norway’s secretary general, Birgit Philipsen. “This sum will provide education to many of the most vulnerable children in the world,” she added while endorsing the very positive example set by the union president.
One of the beneficiaries will be the country of Niger. The birth rate is the highest in the world, and children have an average of just five years at school. Many girls are forced into marriage long before the age of 15. The work ADRA is doing to help young girls go to school is essential for their future, leaders said.
The Loch Ness Marathon
The marathon at Loch Ness is a point-to-point race. The start is in the Highlands north of Fort Augustus and follows Loch Ness on the southeastern side of the lake. The Loch Ness Marathon is considered one of the world’s most attractive marathon events, and in 2016 it was ranked among the world’s top 10 marathons by readers of Runner’s World magazine.
Marley explains that in many ways, a marathon is an illustration of much of what we do in life.
“With adequate preparation and persistent practice, you may reach far, taking one step at a time towards the goal. That’s how I think about leadership, parenting, marriage, personal goals and challenges, education, and the Christian life,” Marley said. “It is not without reason that Paul encourages us to train ourselves to be godly and press on to win the prize God has called us to.”