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.
“We count it a great privilege and honor to serve the people in Oklahoma and other places who participate in the marathon.”
Meanwhile, McAdow said shoes, feet and running are themes that blend throughout all of the outreach activities.
To start, he said the church invites members to donate new or gently used athletic shoes to be used for decorative centerpieces for the pancake breakfast. He said the pairs of donated shoes will be donated to Oklahoma Conference United Methodist Church-affiliated Skyline Urban Ministries after the marathon.
“We get a lot of mileage out of that,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek.
McAdow said he typically asks runners to come to the altar to be blessed during the Marathon Weekend Service. He said he came up with the idea of blessing the shoes “just for a unique element because that's the point of contact for the runner and the road.”
He said last year, he asked attendees to take off their shoes and bring them to the altar. Most complied and he drew lots of laughs from the audience when he quoted from Dr. Seuss' classic “The Foot Book.”
Also, he said there are numerous Scripture references to feet and running.
McAdow said that, combined with the premise of the Memorial Marathon, make the blessing service a good fit, pun intended.
“This run is unlike any other run in the world,” he said.
“We really do believe this is sacred ground.”