Running with Purpose

On November 12 hundreds of people crossed the finish line of the Harrisburg Marathon including Messiah Lifeways team member, Ron Steficek. On the morning of the race, Ron woke up and started to second guess whether or not he would be able to run the 26.2 mile course. He had been training for this day for the past thirteen months – day in and day out. This day was particularly special for Ron because ten years ago, on November 12, 2007, Ron’s nephew David, a captain in the US Army, was killed in the line of duty while serving overseas in Afghanistan. David was a runner and so when Ron decided to start this journey, he knew he wanted to run the marathon in memory and in honor of David.

Another reason Ron decided to run the marathon was because he wanted to continue living a healthier lifestyle that he started six years ago when he decided he was going to get into shape. He decided he was going to learn karate and, within three years, he graduated with a black belt. After karate, he got involved with bicycling which is still something he enjoys to this day. One day last year while at work, he saw that our Human Resources department had put up a “Couch to 5k” flyer as part of their Wellness committee to try and keep team members healthy and active. Ron figured since he had been bicycling for some time now that he would be able to run a 5k without any problem. It turns out it was a little tougher than he thought it would be, and so he decided it was time for another new “project.”

This time he came to the conclusion that he was going to start training for the Harrisburg Marathon in 2017 and run 26.2 miles – something he had never even dreamed he’d be able to accomplish. But that’s the thing with Ron, if he says he’s going to do something, he puts his mind to it and accomplishes his goal. So, with the help of a trainer, some determination and a whole lot of ambition and discipline, Ron ran his first marathon in 4 hours and 57 minutes. His goal was to finish in less than 5 hours. Thirteen months prior to the race, he started training by doing P90X workouts 6 days a week. Then, he started running two miles a week and kept increasing his mileage per his trainer’s advice. His longest run before the marathon was 20 miles.

Halfway through the marathon Ron was already thinking about how he could improve and beat his time for next year’s marathon. He plans to continue running marathons and wants to keep up with his healthy lifestyle. Ron’s face lit up with a big smile as he said, “this whole process was an adventure and I’m not sorry for one minute that I did it.”

Ron wasn’t the only Messiah Lifeways team member to participate in the Harrisburg Marathon this year. Jessica Mladenoff (pictured with Ron below) also ran in the marathon and Les and Kim Engle and their family (pictured below) competed in the relay section of the marathon.