Fabulous at 50

An Illinois pastor runs far for Africa.

Pastor Tim Hoekstra, triumphant after running the Chicago Marathon. (James Addis/WV)

Like many men turning 50, Pastor Tim Hoekstra of Suburban Life Community Church in Darien, Ill., used the milestone to reflect on his life. He says he was struck by the many incredible gifts God has given him.

He was also reminded of the biblical year of Jubilee that occurred every 50 years, requiring the rich to redistribute wealth to the poor.

So when Tim signed up for the Chicago Marathon, simply running the regulation 26.2 miles was not enough. He determined he would run 50 miles and raise $50,000 for World Vision water projects in Africa. That meant beginning his run at about 1:45 a.m. from Glen Ellyn, 23.8 miles from the starting line.

An elated Tim managed to complete the Herculean effort in 10 hours and 42 minutes and was given a rousing reception by fellow Team World Vision runners and supporters after the event.

“Praise the Lord. It was his deal. He got it done,” said Tim, amid a flurry of hugs, handshakes, and cheers.

Tim said his visits to places such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mozambique inspired him to complete the run. He was shocked by how far people had to travel to get water. But in other places, he was impressed by how World Vision had engaged communities to develop accessible clean water.

“I was struck by how people came together across village lines and across faith lines,” he said,  “to see what is possible when people are given the opportunity and the means.”   

Tim was among 1,200 runners who joined Team World Vision to compete in the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Together, they raised more than $800,000 for African water projects.

>>To learn more about Team World Vision or to sign up to help the poor through the 2010 Chicago Marathon, go to www.teamworldvision.org.

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