"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I am pleased to announce that the following organizations and companies have signed on as sponsors for our GRACERUNNER JOURNEY in May. Please check out the links for more information on these wonderful organizations.  We'll be adding more in the near future.
Thank you so much for your support!

Under HIS Grace...


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dreams and Vision = Opportunity

Our ambassadors have represented TEAM 413 and shared their faith in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 20 countries all over the world.

Every once in a while I just have to be transparent regarding the needs of our ministry.  I have always been somewhat uncomfortable to ask people for financial support but, I've had to learn that it is my responsibility to God and to the ministry of TEAM 413. I have to share my heart because it is just the way I am -- open, up front, and honest about what I see and feel.

This week we learned that we have a wonderful opportunity to be an official charity for the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville on April 30. I scheduled a call with one of the charity department representatives at Competitor Group and was excited to learn that the things we had to do were minimal to make this happen. What a tremendous opportunity we have to be involved in this manner with a such a great event! It also appears that we will have the same opportunity for the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon.

I posted status updates on all three of our Facebook pages, placed an announcement on our webpage, and sent out an email blast to several hundred people. Three days later we have a few people who has committed to helping us. Our deadline for signing on to be an official charity is Friday, February 25. At that time, TEAM 413 needs 20 people who are committed or we cannot do this. It would not be appropriate or fiscally responsible for me to place our ministry in this situation without reaching the minimum number prior to accepting a spot as an official charity.

Over the past few years, thousands of people have expressed interest in helping our ministry. They have told me to call on them if we ever need help. So, I'm asking that many of you step forward and help us as we write this new chapter in our history. In order to advance forward as a ministry and to make an impact on lives all over the world, this is something that we must do.

The commitment for helping in our fundraising efforts for this event are minimal. TEAM 413 will pay your entry fee for the race of your choice in Nashville. If you have already registered, you will receive a refund or we will decrease your fundraising amount accordingly. The minimal amount that we have set to raise for this event is $500 per runner/fundraiser.

We trust that God will be faithful to deliver what He sees fit for the ministry. It's not in our hands any longer -- we simply have to hand it all over to Him. It is all up to HIM!

If God tugs on your heart and leads you to help, please email me directly at chris@team413.org
May God continue to bless each of you along your journey!

Under HIS Grace...


Saturday, February 5, 2011

2,299 Hours and Counting

It's February 5 and we are 95 days (2,299 hours) away from the start of GRACERUNNER JOURNEY - 10 days - 413 miles - ONE goal, to Glorify God! We still have a lot of training to do and much logistical work to accomplish.  We need your support both financially and at the running venues along our path. As of today, this is our schedule:

May 12 - Homewood, AL (Lakeshore Greenbelt Trail)
May 13 - Pontotoc, MS and Memphis, TN
May 14 - Springfield, MO (Bass Pro Shops Complex)
May 15 - St. Louis, MO (Forest Park)
May 16 - Champaign, IL and Chicago, IL (Lake Michigan Trail)
May 17 - Des Moines, IA
May 18 - Duluth, MN (Lake Superior Trail)
May 19 - 21 - Fargo, ND (Local Park & Marathon Course)

We need help at each venue with logistics. Our plan is to set up a staging area with our RV at local "running" parks along our journey. We need local volunteers from each city to do some leg work for us to check on what we need to do to get permission to park our RV at these locations and to alert local media of our cause and journey. We'll be at each site for approximately 12 hours.  

My plan is to run smaller loops so that I'll be able to replenish fluids, food, etc. along the way. It will also allow local folks to come out and run with me for a few miles. Kiki, my wife, will be our crew chief and will be at the RV with TEAM 413 & GRACERUNNER JOURNEY gear, my books, posters, and other gear. Folks will also have an opportunity to contribute to our cause while we are in their city. After the day is completed, we hope to hang out for an hour or so with the local group or have a speaking engagement in that city. Then, we'll be off to the next location. 

From a planning perspective, this is a huge undertaking especially since we don't have anyone who does this as their job. We are totally volunteer led and have to plan in the evenings and on weekends. So, we need your help in each city. If you live in one of the cities along our journey, we simply ask that you contact us via email at chris@team413.org and let us know how you will be willing to help. If you know great running venues in your area that are better than the ones we have listed above, please let us know. If I haven't listed a location beside a city, it's because we are still looking for the right spot.

We ask that you consider a pledge to our cause which will help TEAM 413 and three other charities. We'll be raising funds for The Dick Beardsley Foundation, Constructores Para Cristo, and The Great Circle. Each of these charities is worthy of your donations. We chose each of them because we believe in the people who are involved and because of their work and mission. Over the past few days we have raised several thousand dollars. We have received personal and corporate pledges and sponsorships. Some folks are giving in memory or honor of a loved one. Others are giving just because they believe in what we are doing.

Currently, our corporate sponsors are:

~ Swiftwick Socks
~ The Stick
~ Dandy RV Super Store
~ Kool 'n' Fit Conditioning Spray
~ Fargo Running Company
~ The Fargo Marathon
~ Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Fitness Festival

We need more corporate sponsorship as well as individuals to step up and help us reach our goal of glorifying God along our journey and with our fundraising efforts.

I'm committed to finishing this drill! Please join me as I run the miles that God has placed in front of me - Join me in our endeavor to achieve much for many - Join me in lifting up the name of Christ to all creation - Join me as we celebrate God's goodness and grace in our life!

Under HIS Grace...


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Miami 2011 -- Three Stories of God's Grace

There are several stories that stood out to me about the 2011 ING Miami Marathon. Below are three stories of God's grace that grabbed my attention and held my heart!

Running Forward to Share it Forward!

I was in amazement at her words as she told me the story of a change in her heart. I saw the tears well up in her eyes because of the impact that that moment in time had on her soul.

She stopped by the TEAM 413 booth at the 2011 ING Miami Marathon and quietly looked at the shirts. I approached her to see if I could help – she began to tell me her story. Her husband stood by silently but with a smile and twinkle in his eyes. Last December she was running the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama. Her goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As she ran she happened upon a man running under the name TEAM 413 – wearing our shirt emblazoned with “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” on the back. She ran behind him for a while and then as she came up beside him, she told him that the message had been so significant to her on that day that if she qualified for Boston, she would be wearing a TEAM 413 shirt in her next events. She qualified for Boston on that day with 35 seconds to spare! 

Now, on January 29, 2011 she was standing in our booth making plans to live up to her promise to the man who helped her get through that race. Even more importantly, it was a promise to herself to be a witness to someone else – to be hope for someone’s hurting heart – to be a billboard of grace out on her journey. She selected the shirt that she wanted and we talked for quite some time. Her husband told of how God had changed their lives through working with children in camps near their home.

These folks were amazing people who had made plans to pay if forward and share forward so that others could see Christ in them! I believe that she got her opportunity at the marathon on Sunday. I can’t wait to hear!

Just a shirt story? I think not – it was one more step in changing another person’s life through the simple message of the verse that God breathed into reality and placed on a simple running shirt.

Awake and Asleep!

On race morning I walked from my hotel on Miami Beach to the Convention Center to catch a ride to the start line in downtown Miami. It was a little over a mile to the shuttle area, but it was easier than trying to find a parking place!

My route took me along Highway A1A or the main drag of Miami Beach. At 3:45 AM that place was still hoppin! Clubs were open. Restaurants were open. I even heard a couple tell the hostess that they needed a table for two for dinner at one of the outdoor patio restaurants! Everyone was dressed to the max and there I was in my running attire walking to catch a shuttle for a race! I had been asleep and woke up to an alarm at 3:00 AM and these folks hadn’t been to bed yet!

I thought that it was an oddity that all these people were still up and showed no sign of going home soon. But, I’m certain they looked at me in the same way. What’s that guy doing? Where is he going? Why’s he dressed like that? Uncertainty had to cross their mind because I am CERTAIN that they didn’t know that a marathon was taking place in a couple of hours! After all, they would be in bed when we started and when we finished.

I wasn’t sure what lesson I had learned from my journey of the early morning. I usually have some analogy to make that can pull it all together but I’ve been having a hard time with this one until just now while I’m 35,000 feet over somewhere in the southeast flying home to Birmingham.
It finally came to me – their clocks must have been wrong! My mom once told me that not too many good things happened if you were out after midnight. Maybe their mama didn’t tell them.  They could have been sleep walking like many of us were at the start of our race. Or, maybe they were just like a lot of the marathoners who got up early on a Sunday morning, put on their running shoes and gear, pinned their number on, and went for a run with several thousand people.  Maybe they were running to or from something just like many of us who are runners. Maybe they were searching for something that seems unattainable or running from something that they can’t outrun. Maybe we are alike after all.  

At many of my speaking engagements and in much of my writing I tell people that they don’t have to run to or from anything because Jesus Christ is the answer to all their needs. If we are running a real or “mythical 3:00 AM” marathon of life, He is all we need. We don’t have to search any longer – we simply have to ask Him to come into our hearts. Then, we carry Him everywhere we go because He is within us and He runs in front of us, behind us, to our right and to our left, above and below us. He is there to protect us from the enemy and give us hope for a future that we cannot imagine. Seek Him and you will find Him. Call on Him and He will come. Believe in Him – accept Him and He will change your life for all eternity. He is the answer to all your needs!


Mark Pratt is a man of God! Originally from Jamaica, now living in the Miami area, Mark is my Facebook friend and brother in Christ. I met him last year at the Miami Marathon where he bought my book and has now shared it with many of his friends. He can even recite many of the stories that I write about so, I know he read it! Mark came to our booth at the expo to visit and to seek words of “wisdom” from me (if you can call it that) as he was about to run his first full marathon. We talked about a lot of things including nutrition, hydration, walk breaks, and so much more. He left with a little more confidence that he could get the job done. Later that evening, he posted a thank you on my Facebook site and I had a feeling that he was going to do great.

As is my custom, I got to the start line of the race on Sunday morning very early. I like to have time to sort through all of the weekend – to take in the words of people all around me – and to talk to our TEAM 413 folks who I bump into along their way to run the race.  

This race started in the darkness of the early morning at about 6:15 AM. In Miami you run over the Causeway across Biscayne Bay on a trek to Miami Beach. In the darkness of this early morning, the cruise ships were lit up and then the glimmer of the sunrise hit the sky! It was a glorious site of God’s creation. Absolutely spectacular!

As I ran over the causeway taking in all of the sites, Mark ran up beside me and tapped me on the shoulder. The odds of this happening were huge – but, to God, it was planned. We ran along together for several miles and I encouraged him to increase his pace and keep moving forward. We parted ways as I wished him God speed as he continued his step by step journey to complete his goal.  

Then, at about mile 12 of the race we ran into each other again – and at the split of the half and full marathon I had a chance to pray that God would bless this wonderful man of God. I made my turn toward the finish and saw Mark move his way to a distance that would be new to him with the knowledge that he would glorify God in every step that he took.  

Late on Sunday I checked the results of the race and he had finished the drill – he had run the race set before him! He accomplished the dream that God had planted in his heart! I am proud of you, Mark! Keep rockin’ your runs for Christ! God speed, my friend!

Under HIS Grace...