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Blessing offered for marathon runners and their shoes

As part of its Second Wind Ministries, First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City offers a pre-marathon service and blessing of the shoes for Memorial Marathon runners.
BY CARLA HINTON Published: April 30, 2011

Some are trendy neon bright, while others are a basic black.

Several have the stripes or well-known insignia of the athletic apparel companies that make them.

They all will make their way up the aisles of First United Methodist Church of Oklahoma City on Saturday because it's not that often that the Rev. Mark McAdow asks people to plop their shoes down at the altar.

Only once a year does McAdow offer his pre-Memorial Marathon “Blessing of the Shoes.”

McAdow said he's been offering the blessing since he became senior pastor of First United Methodist about five years ago.

It's part of an annual pre-marathon service hosted by the church's Second Wind Ministry on the night before the marathon. This year's service is 7 to 8 p.m. at the church, 131 NW 4.

Second Wind was created in 2005 as an outreach ministry to connect the church with the thousands of people that converge on downtown Oklahoma City each year for the Memorial Marathon.

McAdow said the ministry and service came about because having church services in the downtown area on race-day Sunday is extremely difficult.

He said the church decided to have a service the night before the race and invite the runners and their families.

Instead of church services on race-day, First United Methodist offers a variety of outreach activities including a free pancake breakfast and a children's play area in the church's parking lot.

McAdow said it takes about 250 church volunteers to offer the outreach activities. He said about 100 church members serve as course marshals.

“Our church was greatly impacted by the Murrah (Building) bombing so we have a great connection with the memorial itself,” McAdow said.

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