Tag Archives: Mike Johnson

Running Boston in Boston

Yesterday I wrote about my running buddies Mike Johnson and Dan Foster running in the Boston Marathon.  Both finished, but Mike’s finish had something extraordinary.  One runner had collapse at the 26 mile marker, less than a quarter mile from the finish.  Four other runners helped him across the finish line; one of whom was Mike Johnson.   Mike is the runner in the neon yellow shirt in the tweet below.


Reminded me of the old Hollies hit, “He ain’t heavy he’s my brother.”  Way to go, Mike!

You can see the series of pictures of this finish at this link.



Running Boston in St. Paul

Today is the Boston Marathon, the premier marathon in the United States.  After last year’s horrific bombing, the marathon has become even more significant. Over 30,000 runners have registered for this year’s race. Two of my running buddies, Mike Johnson and Dan Foster, will be running the 26.2 miles and I am excited for them. A mutual friend Tim Torgerson wrote a great reflection on supporting Mike, Dan and the other runners who will be running today.

Dan and Mike stand behind fellow runners Bob and Gary.  All four have run Boston in recent years.

Dan and Mike stand behind fellow runners Bob and Gary. All four have run Boston in recent years.

Mike J and I were talking on the phone and as we signed off I said, “Good luck at Boston, have fun. I wish I was going to be there with you.” Mike’s response was, “You will be there with me.”

For some reason that stuck with me.

I thought about for the next two days. In reality, because of last year’s tragic events and because it is the way running with friend bond, we really are there.

In some way, we are all connected. That is certainly why this Boston is going to be celebrated like none other. It’s the connection that all marathoners have as we strive to do what a majority of people think is impossible or just plain crazy. In addition to being physically challenging , marathoning is a deeply emotional experience. It’s probably for that reason that most runners can’t just do one!

The most important thing I want to say is Good Luck, Have Fun, Dan and Mike. Enjoy what will probably be the most memorable marathon in your career. You are running for all of us.


Tim Torgerson running TCM a few years ago

Tim Torgerson running TCM a few years ago

I am reminded of St. Paul’s instructions, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Roman 12:15). Today I am rejoicing with Dan, Mike and the other 35,000 runners at Boston.

Lord Jesus, grant strength and hope to all runners this day.

Marathon Challenge

12 medals from 12 races

12 medals from 12 races

This morning I ran with my friend, Mike Johnson. He recently completed a significant challenge: to run twelve marathons in twelve months. He started with the Houston Marathon on January 15, 2012 and finished with same marathon on January 13, 2013. Mike had been an all-American in cross-country at St. Thomas in 1980’s, but marathons had been a struggle for him. He wanted something that would be a challenge physically, mentally and spiritually plus become a way to raise funds for Camp Wapogasset where he works and serves.

What Mike discovered in the process of running is that challenges are not always fun. His first marathon was fast and fun, but then the constant grind of preparing, running and recovering from each marathon wore him down. Several times he thought about quitting, casting the whole challenge aside. But some internal voice kept pushing him to do one more training run, one more marathon, and one more recovery jog.   He had an internal drive to finish what he started.

I would not have criticized Mike if he had stopped the challenge early on. After all many people thinking running 26.2 miles once is crazy, let alone a dozen in a year. Yet I marvel at his perseverance and tenacity.

Perseverance is one of the spiritual values highlighted in the New Testament.

let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:2.

In a culture that seeks instant gratification, the Christian life is counter-cultural, valuing perseverance and patience. Jesus persevered through his suffering and crucifixion. Paul persevered in his missionary travels.

Mike’s challenge was pretty mild compared Jesus and Paul.  But Mike’s example showed me the constant challenge to persevere in my calling. I doubt that I will ever run 12 in 12, but I know that running my “race with Jesus” is going to call me to persevere through difficult and challenging times.

The good thing that both Mike and I know, Jesus runs with us all the way.

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me the strength to persevere.