BBT 5k Contributes to on Earth Peace ‘3,000 Miles for Peace’

At 7 a.m. today, 37 walkers and 64 runners gathered in Freedom Regional Park in Charlotte, N.C., to participate in the 2013 Fitness Challenge at Annual Conference, sponsored by Brethren Benefit Trust.

After a brief welcome, BBT president Nevin Dulabaum shared that this year’s race had a unique component: it was a designated “3,000 Miles for Peace” event. All participants had the opportunity to log miles and raise dollars to donate to the Paul Ziegler Young Peacemakers Fund, which undergirds the peace-building efforts of On Earth Peace in memory of Paul Ziegler, a young man who planned to ride his bicycle across the country for peace, but never got the chance.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Winners of the Fitness Challenge walk/run: (from left) Susan Fox fastest female walker, Chelsea Goss fastest female runner, Matthew Fahs-Brown fastest male runner, Don Shankster, male walker champion.


“Paul was always my boy with a plan,” wrote Paul Ziegler’s mother in a letter to Fitness Challenge athletes. “He would often lean over in church and say, ‘Why are we just sitting here? If everyone were out doing something for someone else, just think how much we could accomplish.’ ” It was in that spirit of service and with the memory of Paul’s determination that runners and walkers of all ages set out to each cover 3.1 miles for peace–as quickly as they could.

The out-and-back route ran alongside beautiful ponds, crossed over creeks, and traversed under trees. Although it was humid, the cloud cover and early morning temperature made it a lovely day for a little exercise.


Photo by Glenn Riegel
Runners in the Brethren Benefit Trust Fitness Challenge


Susan Fox was the fastest female walker, crossing the finish line at 39:50. Don Shankster, male walker champion, finished at 33:27. Chelsea Goss protected her title of fastest female runner, clocking in 24:36. And Matthew Fahs-Brown took home the prize for fastest male runner at 17:45.

This annual event is well-loved for the fresh air, fellowship, and healthy competition, but this  year’s Fitness Challenge went a little further than past races–pounding the pavement for peace.

–Mandy J. Garcia is Church of the Brethren staff for donor communications.

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