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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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LIFE Runners go the extra mile for the unborn at Philadelphia Marathon

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, December 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Seventy-five pro-lifers from across the U.S. came together in Philadelphia for a marathon for life.

Wearing blue t-shirts that read "REMEMBER the Unborn - Jeremiah 1:5," LIFE Runners had the largest team participating in the Philly marathon the weekend of November 19-20.

"The Philadelphia Marathon weekend was a powerful pro-life mission trip," Dr. Pat Castle, coach and founder of LIFE Runners, told LifeSiteNews. "Seventy-five LIFE Runners jerseys changed hearts and minds for saving lives!"

The pro-life team included 15 members running in the full 26.2-mile marathon, 10 in the 8K race, and 50 in the 13.1-mile half-marathon.

"It is always so encouraging to see the team grow following one of our fall race weekends," Dr. Castle said, adding that among the pro-life runners was "courageous" Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. "We had many great conversations serving as pro-life missionaries."

Dr. Castle, a retired Air Force colonel from Colorado Springs, Colorado, says running with "REMEMBER the Unborn" shirts is a "powerful opportunity to be the voice for the voiceless." His idea has caught on: The National LIFE Runners team counts more than 5,000 teammates in all 50 states and 29 nations.

“Having Life Runners in Philadelphia for this event is a chance to help our group grow and bring awareness about the unborn,” participant Ted Mirenda told Catholic Philly. “I hope many who are pro-life will be inspired to use running as a way to evangelize the message to speak up for those with no voice.”

Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”

The theme song for the marathon was Fix My Eyes. "Live life for another, fight for the weak ones, speak out for freedom, find faith in the battle, stand tall but above it all, fix my eyes on You, on You."

After the marathon, the pro-life team prayed outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood abortion facility. "You could feel the darkness that drew women in out of desperation, preying on the hurting and hopeless," Dr. Castle noted online. "This same darkness would spit them out after destroying the life they were carrying and leave them deeply wounded."

The runners’ mere presence was a witness, Castle said. "While we prayed, many people walked by confused by our presence and then looked up to realize that a Planned Parenthood was hidden there. Shining our light on that place brought awareness," he said.

"There were some that swore and yelled at us, but regardless of the anger and threats, we remained prayerful and peaceful," Castle added. "We must raise awareness, we must stand for truth, we must not give up!"

LIFE Runners also sponsors an annual cross country relay during Lent.  

Next year's LIFE Runners marathon is scheduled for Pensacola, Florida. "We are excited to see what God has planned for the LIFE Runners 2017 Pensacola Marathon weekend, November 12th," Dr. Castle added. "Please pray the LIFE Runners Creed to end abortion."

The LIFE Runners Creed is:

We believe in the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death.

1. We run as a Prayer, to defend children in the womb, so that they may be born and united with our Christian community.

2. We run to build Endurance, for the race is long and we must keep our eyes fixed on You Lord.

3. We run for Awareness, so our culture will view all human life as a reflection of Your glory Lord.

4. We run for Charity, to provide support for mothers and fathers tempted to abort their child, and healing support for post-abortion women, men and families.

5. We run to End abortion, for Christ died so that all may live.

Guard us all, born and unborn, with Your PEACE, Lord. For in You, life is victorious. We pray and run in Your name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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