Running on a prayer: First Woodway Baptist hosts month-long running event

Run Pray Waco is an event going on throughout the month of November which encourages participants to pray for the city while running or walking a 14-mile route through Waco. Graphic courtesy of Run Pray Waco.

By Julia Pearl | Reporter

While serving the community and connecting with others has been a challenge during the pandemic, Run Pray Waco invites Wacoans to experience the community while praying for its healing and unity.

First Woodway Baptist Church mapped a 14-mile route from Woodway to Bellmead that can be completed at any pace throughout the month of November with a special event planned for the final mile on November 29. René Maciel, pastor at First Woodway, spearheaded the event and said it was good balance between keeping people safe and bringing them together.

“This is a dream I had a few years ago, but covid has actually forced it and pushed it a little bit which is great,” said Maciel. “This idea of running from West Waco, Woodway, all the across Waco into East Waco and hopefully not only the idea of praying for our community and asking God to help us but also bringing people along, inviting our community along to help run in support.”

While signups for Run Pray Waco are open until November 29, some participants have already started or finished the route. Christine Woods completed the route as a relay with her family. Woods said she was thankful to be able to pray for her community while spending time with her family.

“We each ran a different leg, and we did that last Saturday,” Woods said. “When you start praying you don’t really notice you’re running and working that hard, and that makes it go by a little quicker.”

Woods said Run Pray Waco had a significant impact on her. While running, Woods said her and her family crossed paths with another woman running with the same idea in mind.

“There was a young lady that came running around the corner, and I said hi to her,” Woods said. “She caught up and told us, that morning she just felt like she needed to spend some time praying, talking to God. She was just going to spend the whole morning running and praying. The fact that we ran into each other wasn’t just a coincidence, it was pretty divine.”

Woods said it was amazing to be able to unite with a stranger over running and praying for the community.

“It was really great to make a connection with someone one who had the same purpose as us, wanting to pray for our community and make sure our community is successful and people are safe,” Woods said.

While Woods has already completed the route, Maciel is still in the process and said he would love for Baylor students to join the event.

“Pray for Waco as you run or walk and just keeping our community and our nation and all that is going on in our country in your prayers as we pray for COVID, unity and the race issues that are in front of us, just calling on God to help us during this time,” Maciel said.