Ryan Hall is a Team USA Olympic marathon contender. He’s also a man quite open about how his faith is influencing his training and event participation. A recent New York Times feature about Ryan, “A Runner’s Belief: God is his coach”, included interviews with a swath of experts in this field as well.
Tim Noakes, exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town commented, “The more stable you are as a human, the better you are as an athlete, and religion is a very stabilizing force.”
Apparently, discovering a more spiritual approach to sports is not new. Doing a little research on faith in sports for this post, I came across a guide called, ‘Gods and Games’. It states, “ancient civilizations elevated athletics to a spiritual plane…” The prophet Isaiah, writing about 740 B.C., observed: “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired…”
Of course faith in sports is not something only for Olympians. Tim Tebow, Jeremy Linn, Mark Warner, and many others openly give thanks to God for guidance and inspiration during training and game day play. And those of us who admire their perseverance, talent, and strength – cheer them on. We’re grateful to apply in our own lives, by some measure, the lessons they’ve learned in theirs.