Interview for Chaplains' Corner by Patrick Nath
cc: When did you receive Christ as your Saviour?
wb: I think I was about 8 years old. It was at a revival meeting in the Christian Church at Sublette, Kansas. I grew up in that church. I'm sure I attended there 9 months before I was even born the first time.
cc: What types of church ministry do you participate in?
wb: I work for the National Missionary Convention which conducts a 4 day convention once a year in various locations all over the USA. We have met in Orlando, Florida; New York City; Portland, Oregon; Anaheim, California and many other places in between. In recent years attendance has increased to five or six thousand. The convention serves as a venue to get people, churches and colleges involved in world evangelism. I have worked with the convention since 1966. I also teach an older adult Sunday School class at the Sublette Christian Church. We have a great time. Several people in the class are over 80 years old and have a great faith.
cc: How long have you been running?
wb: I started jogging when I was 42 or 43 -- about 26 years ago -- and started running races when I was 49.
cc: What are your most memorable experiences in running?
wb: Running my first marathon. It was in Las Vegas, Nevada. I wanted to run in a marathon that was not on Sunday and not sponsored by a beer company. I finished first in my age group in just over three hours and five minutes. That was in February of 1986. In October of 1986 I ran the Wichita Marathon in almost exactly the same time. Another memorable race was the 8 mile Turkey Trot with about 3,000 other people in Dallas, Texas. Also the Tulsa Run in 1985 with about the same number of people. I have also has lots of memorable races in Southwest Kansas. I have run about 400 or more races.
cc: How does your faith affect your running?
wb: Since I am very strongly opposed to the liquor industry in all it's forms I rarely run in races in which beer companies have any part. Since I feel I need to be in church on Sunday mornings I never run in Sunday morning races.
cc: How does running affect your faith in Christ?
wb: It helps me work off frustrations in what is often frustrating work in the Missionary Convention. When you are gasping for breath it takes your mind off other problems. I also think it is important to keep myself in the best physical health I can to do the work I am trying to do.
cc: Are there any special things you pray or think about while running? wb: I try to concentrate on running. However, since the missionary convention work is something that is with me 24/7 it is difficult not to think and pray about it. Quite often when I run in the mornings I will pray about things that I am going to be working on that day or about the convention in general. I will also pray about my family.
cc: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
wb: From the standpoint of my work it would be Matthew 28:19 and 20. As a runner it would be Isaiah 40:31.
cc: Is there anything you would like to say to a non-believer who runs? wb: Jesus gives a purpose to life (including running) that goes far beyond anything this world gives.
Walter is a co-chaplain for SWFTR, holds the office of SWFTR Secretary and as such publishes the SWFTR newsletter, and supervises the SWFTR Grand Prix Series. Somehow, he also finds the time to become a fixture at most Saturday races in southwest Kansas.