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Extreme Marathoner Learns to Accept Limits

In 2011, a South African pastor and seasoned marathoner nicknamed "JVR" decided to run 100 miles with three other running mates as a means for recruiting 100 child sponsors for World Vision. The plan was to do the last 26.2 miles of their 100 mile goal at the Chicago Marathon that year. During the night, JVR started to show signs of fatigue. He wasn't keeping up, and unbeknown to him or his teammates, his kidneys were starting to shut down.

JVR finished the race, as did his other three running partners, but by the time he made it to the team's tent after the marathon, he was in trouble. Medics took him to the hospital where he spent the next two weeks in intensive care, his body struggling to recover from the stress it had experienced. JVR survived, but he admits that doing extreme challenges, even in the name of a great cause, may not always be worth it. Considering how the marathon was born—legend says the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver an important note, then collapsed and died—raising the stakes just to raise more money should not be attempted lightly.

After the race JVR admitted, "A lot of me doing the 100 miles was about wanting to achieve. I am addicted to performance. When I meet God, he'll probably say, 'What were you thinking? I never asked you to do that.'" Though JVR still runs marathons, he's learned to first ask God, "What is it that you want me to do, Lord? What role do you want to play in this part of my life? I want to ask God first before saying, 'I did all these things for a great cause. I ran all these races.'"

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