On 2 April I took part in the Maratona di Roma, my fifth marathon. The marathon for me continues to be a learning experience. In the Rome marathon I battled torrential rain in the first half of the race, seven kilometres of cobblestones, and a difficult last quarter during which I stopped to walk for short intervals; but despite these challenges I refused to give up. My mental strength helped me to dig deep and run strongly to the end, placing 630th of the 13,312 finishers in a time of 3:09:49.
I was proud to complete the marathon in Rome. It was my second time to run the forty-two kilometre event in the eternal city, a place which gives me so much joy and peace. Over the past ten years Rome has become my favourite city and the place I visit most frequently. It is a familiar place, where I am among friends. Each time I go to Rome I feel especially close to God and it reminds me of the special time I had living there while attending the Emmanuel School of Mission in 2011-12. I will always be thankful for the blessings I have received through this place.
While training for the Rome Marathon I completed most of my long runs on the undulating terrain of my local park. The many hours I spent running up and down the rolling hills there gave me time to reflect on the ups and downs in my own life. There have been many great times connected to my journey of faith and the joy of running. There have been challenging times too. However I have no regrets. Life is too short to live in the past.
Striving to live in the present moment is what gives me peace. In my experience it is not material things which matter most in life, what is most important is having inner happiness. Life is for living to the full. My experience living in Rome with wonderful young people from around the world was the catalyst for a time of flourishing in my life and I am so thankful to God for receiving that opportunity. I have found great peace by using my gifts to share the joy of my faith and by continuing to enjoy my running.