St. Francis priest to run his 62nd – and last – marathon
Will use race to raise money for scholarships
When Father Brian Jordan, O.F.M., of the St. Francis College campus ministry, was undergoing training (or “formation”) to become a Franciscan in Brookline, Mass., back in 1979, Easter Monday that year fell on the same day as the Boston Marathon.
Since, of course, he had the day off, he decided to enter the race unofficially. He finished in 3 hours, 35 minutes – a better showing than many of the official contestants – and was hooked on marathons.
Over the years, he has run 61 marathons, in Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Toronto and elsewhere. “I’m a running Irishman,” he jokes.
Now, for medical reasons, Fr. Jordan has decided to make the upcoming New York Marathon his 62nd, and last, marathon. And for this special marathon, he is dedicating his run to promoting the cause of interfaith solidarity and to help raise money for scholarships at St. Francis College.
Fr. Jordan, 57, kicked off his campaign to raise $40,000 for the scholarship fund with an interfaith prayer service at the college where students offered prayers in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Attendees also read from the 2002 Decalogue of Assisi, Italy, a document put together by 250 religious world leaders that states 10 principals which affirm unity, friendship, peace and solidarity among all religions.
Jordan said that running a marathon has much religious and spiritual significance. A marathon, he said, is 40 km (26 miles, to most Americans). “Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, so the number has a significance both in the Old and New testaments,” he said.
In addition, he said, running the marathons has given him time to reflect and meditate. He also said that while running, the enthusiasm of the crowds “along Fourth Avenue, along Bedford Avenue, Manhattan Avenue gives me energy.” The fact that he mentions those streets, as opposed to streets the marathon runs through in Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, betrays the fact that he was born and raised in Brooklyn.
Over the years, he says, marathon running has affected his body to such an extent that his left knee has not more cartalige – “just bone on bone.” But he plans to make this last race a meaningful one.
Donations can be made at runningfranciscan.kintera.org.
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