Op-Ed: LIFE Runners Share Powerful Message Across America

The 10th annual LIFE Runners cross-country relay, the largest-spanning pro-life event in the world, is underway following a prayerful kickoff on July 4 from four U.S. starting points. The beautiful pro-life relay spans an astounding 5,359 miles and began from north, south, east and west starting points — the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Antonio and Grand Forks, North Dakota. Runners are proclaiming a simple but important message — “Remember the Unborn Jer. 1:5” — on banners and T-shirts. The A-Cross America Relay is broken into segments of about 5 km each. Teammates from around the world register to walk or run, with some of the legs starting or ending at prior or current abortion facilities. The theme for 2022 is “Freedom for all, born and unborn.” Scheduled to run are over 19,400 runners in 41 nations and 3,324 cities! “This is our first post-Roe relay, praise God!” said Pat Castle, founder of LIFE Runners.   After Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Brooklyn, runners gathered on the Brooklyn Bridge with their “Remember the Unborn” banner and began their run across the bridge to Manhattan, where they stopped for prayer at the infamous Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood abortion facility. After prayer and sidewalk counseling in front of the very busy abortion center, they returned to the Basilica for a noon Mass. Participants run any time from July 4 to Aug. 7, each starting by reciting the beautiful LIFE Runners creed: We believe in the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. We run as a Prayer, to defend children in the womb, so that they may be born and united with our Christian community. We run to build Endurance, for the race is long and we must keep our eyes fixed on You, Lord. We run for Awareness, so our culture will view all human life as a reflection of Your glory, Lord. 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. 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. Pro-life advocate Abby Johnson will run, along with a number of post-abortive men and women including LIFE Runners board member Grante Fenske, who leads a post-abortion healing ministry, and a former abortion doctor. Members of various pro-life groups and ministries around the country will participate in their areas. Castle had just founded LIFE Runners about 13 years ago when he met another faith-filled runner, Jeff Grabosky. At the time, Grabosky was completing the extraordinary feat of running solo from coast to coast across the United States, praying as he ran. Only the 43rd person to complete an ocean-to-ocean run, Grabosky later wrote about his four-month journey in “Running with God Across America,” in which he explained how he prayed a decade of the rosary for each of the roughly 3,500 intentions he had been given. Castle thought of the powerful witness that could be shared across the country through running. “I said, ‘Jeff, what if we did this trip across America again? … And he said, ‘Absolutely,’” Castle related. Over the coming year, they planned a coast-to-coast route, launching the inaugural A-Cross America Relay on Palm Sunday 2013. “Whenever possible, Jeff and I would search for abortion facilities and route it by the abortion facilities, to put prayer pressure, to put holy pressure on those places,” Castle said. The relay drew a lot of attention to LIFE Runners. “We kind of exploded,” Castle said. LIFE Runner membership expanded from 170 at the end of 2011 to 1,791 by the end of 2013 after the first A-cross America Relay had been completed. In 2015, they decided to add a north-south route across the country to make a cross, and in 2016, they allowed people to “adopt” 5 km segments while running anywhere in the world during the relay time period. “It’s spurring this public witness, this pro-life activism, this unity, this synergy,” Castle told LifeSite. “The LIFE Runners shirt has provided the pro-life movement a jersey to unite our teamwork for ending abortion. … It unites everyone together with the ‘Remember the Unborn’ message. I love how LIFE Runners has permeated throughout the pro-life movement in that capacity.” The witness of LIFE Runners has saved babies’ lives and their mothers the anguish of abortion, and probably many of these beautiful outcomes remain unknown. One young mother was told her unborn baby had Down syndrome. The father threatened to leave unless she had an abortion. She saw a “Remember the Unborn” yard sign that prompted her to choose life. You may read her story here. A woman wearing her “Remember the Unborn” shirt chatted with an acquaintance who decided to join the relay. When she was handed her own shirt, she shared that she was pregnant and was considering an abortion. “You are on an appointment from God. I’m not going to do that now. Thank you!” The LIFE Runners relay will continue “until we cross the finish line that ends abortion,” Castle said. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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