The Long Run

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Long distance running and childbirth have a lot in common.  This week they have a person in common – Barry McDonald.

Marathon training and childbirth are something you do alone.  No one can take your place, no one can do it for you, you go it alone.   You enter places of pain and exhaustion that only you experience and once committed there is no turning back.   I’ve done both – twins of pain, surrender, loneliness, and isolation that bring forth unspeakable joy and accomplishment.  A finisher’s medal, a baby, the prizes at the end that bring meaning to the labor.

For nearly two weeks Barry will run a marathon a day crossing the broken but beautiful land of Haiti.  He has a support team, he is surrounded by love and encouragement but his legs alone go the 315 miles to the end.

A handful of years ago the McDonalds lost their only child to stillbirth.  Breath never came, a silent baby made no cry, their hopes and dreams of parenthood buried with a beautiful, lifeless boy.  That crushing sorrow made ready Barry’s heart to hear from God about other parents who lose babies and babies who lose mothers in the third world country of Haiti.  A multi-marathon idea came to be.  A marathon so crazy that people worldwide would take notice.   He decided to run to raise money so Heartline could build a bigger and fully operational maternity center.  We have found that when women get prenatal care, education and nutrition the outcomes are great!   Women and babies live!  Good care and a safe birth should be available to more women.  Barry is running to make it so.

Each morning for 12 days Barry and his team rise before dawn and he heads out, step by step covering ground across this land.  He reaches deep, he runs through the pain and like Gideon of old he is “weary yet pursuing”.  Running for others, running so women will have a safe place to birth their babies.  Running that shouts, “pay attention, this is important, this matters!”

Childbirth is sacred and midwives are the angels that stand by and keep it safe.  Running can be sacred, drawing the athlete into reflection and long periods of prayer as the miles are pounded away.  We meet ourselves in pain and come out the other end changed.  Barry is endurance running so that women can endure the rigors of childbirth in safety surrounded by birth attendants.

Barry is an athlete pushing himself so the issue of maternal health care can be noticed and addressed.

Jump in from the sidelines, join the race, give to the cause.   This counts for the kingdom of heaven.  Run to win!

Check out what Barry is doing Run for Life Haiti and join in supporting him as he runs for those that can’t.

Beth McHoul

  1. So well written Beth. Love this.

  2. Becky says:

    This is beautiful and what Barry is doing is amazing. It has been and honor and priviledge to be a tiny part of this endeavor.

  3. Forever says:

    Hey mama beth very nice. I loved that it was very beutiful.
    And thanks mama beth for thank you for taking care of me when i was a baby.

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