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Run with patience

Jackie Macadam learns about the life and faith of ultramarathon runner Dr Mark Calder, who is running pilgrim ways to raise funds for charity.

“RUNNING ultramarathons (generally considered any race longer than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles) has come to mean something much more to me than entering a race: it’s become more like a spiritual discipline’ – a deeply spiritual experience.”

Dr Mark Calder, Regional Manager for Scotland and the North of England of charity Embrace The Middle East, is talking about his interest with running around 100 miles on a regular basis, usually to raise funds for Embrace.

“It is certainly one of those disciplines that can be prayerful, transformative, perspective-altering, worshipful, reorienting, humbling, joyful, and sometimes elating. If spiritual means something like the overlap of all of these things, then yes, it’s spiritual.”

Born in the West Midlands, Mark has memories of family hillwalking breaks, and never being sure where they’d end up.

“My dad was from Yorkshire, and my mum from the south, and though we lived in an urban area, we used to get out to the hills as often as my parents could manage, and I have enduring memories of walking fells in the rain, my Dad doubting the compass, and us all ending up thoroughly lost. I’ve thought about these experiences a lot this year as I’ve experienced my own navigational issues – but it’s probably in these that my love for being outdoors was nourished,” he laughs.

“I very much disliked school, but from sixth form began to enjoy studying – despite being seriously inhibited by an inability to write legibly!” he says.

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About Life and Work

In this issue NEW PARTNERSHIPS - Church unions and linkages RUN WITH PATIENCE - Ultramarathon runner Dr Mark Calder A SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY Stewardship today and new technology Plus much more .......