Posted by: David D. Daggett | September 12, 2011

Open Our Arms

Open Our Arms

       How welcoming are we? Ironman athletes in particular, and elite athletes in general, can tend to be an exclusionary group. Conversely, we have a responsibility and unique opportunity to be inclusive. Perhaps we tend to be that way in other aspects of our lives as well.

        Many times religious organizations can be seen as an exclusionary group. I was so proud of our church, New Philadelphia Moravian Church, for hosting the first annual Moravian Festival this past weekend. The festival was kicked off with the Moravian Challenge 5K running race.

Open Our Arms

        A good friend and church colleague with no prior race directing experience chaired the committee and directed the race. Awesome job!  We were elated when our little homegrown, grassroots running race attracted a field of more than 300 participants. Our little race attracted a large number of first timers and walkers, all the way up and through a former United States Track and Field Association age group athlete of the year. We have quite a collection of individuals and along with them individual stories and goals.

        Several friends from the athletic community came to our rescue by recruiting participants, and coming themselves not only to race, but to help encourage and support the many individuals hoping to improve their individual health and fitness. We were grateful that these pillars of the athletic community opened their arms to join us in what turned out to be an extremely successful event.

        When we open our arms, we discover many stories that not only help others but also tell us more about ourselves. We had a large number of individuals who struggled to get through the 5K, but they did so because they knew they were starting on a path to better their own health and fitness.

       If you will look carefully in the photograph you will see one older lady who my kids described as wearing her fancy clothes for the running race. This lady was 85 years young and participating in her first athletic event. The highlight of my day as race announcer was holding her hand as she ran across the finish line in her “fancy clothes.”

        Certainly the exclamation point on the day was the large amount of money raised for Sunnyside Ministries to feed the poor in our community. The director of Sunnyside stood at the finish line to welcome each and every competitor, and stayed to hand out awards at the end.   Sunnyside has and needs open arms.

      When we take time to open our arms to others, they are able to open our hearts. Our simple little 5K road race was held with open arms and opened many hearts.

Arms opened,


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