Gracepoint’s Marathon Man

December 7, 2008 at 7:01 pm 7 comments

He made a Gracepoint Fellowship Church Record today: The oldest church member to run a marathon! He’s past 40 years old, he’s my friend, Tony!

At 15 smiles mark!

9:20AM: At the 15 smiles mark!

The race began at Folsom Lake and ended at the state capital building. He slept over at my home Saturday night because he needed to leave at 5:30 am to make the 7am start time this morning.

26.2 miles from start to finish

Game Plan: 26.2 miles from start to finish

His driver, Jason, prepared a nice marathon breakfast: three eggs, peanut butter & jelly sandwich with sweet honey smothered in! Mega calories for sure, but it’ll be burned up in no time.

Breakfast for a Fast Run!

5:24AM: Quick Breakfast for a Fast Run!

After that quick breakfast, he was ready to go. Here’s a before-the-race interview:

But instead of the 10-mile mark, I decided to go out to encourage him at the crucial markers where his body would want to shut down. For Tony, he said he usually gets hit with it at around the 15-mile mark. So, I drove out to meet him at that milestone in order to say a quick word of encouragement. I timed it so that I could catch him as as he passed by that intersection with his pace group (the 4:05 pace). Here is a video of him at the 15-mile mark, where he was all smiles!

Marathoners also get hit at the 20-mile mark, otherwise known as “The Wall”, where many runners can’t get through it and give up. So I drove to this next milestone to encourage him again. I was able to capture this picture before I had to run to catch our church service.

20-mile mark

10:00AM: So cold, there's frost on his hair!

He finished the 26.2 miles in 4 hours 35 minutes. That’s quite a feat! (pun intended!) 🙂 But even more challenging is the fact that afterwards, he hurried down to make it to Gracepoint’s church service and their ministry team meeting that night! (and the day before, he was busy with our Joyland Christmas Celebration practice all day long!) Now, that’s a marathon of a weekend!

I’m inspired by Tony who has been in this race with me for a long time — not a marathon, but this spiritual journey of faith, especially as we have been co-workers in the ministry for 20 years and running. Many have said that ministry is like a marathon race (and not a sprint). There’s been many times when he was there for me at my 15-mile mark, at “the wall” moments of ministry where it seemed impossible to get through… But that’s when you need a good friend to be there, encouraging you to press on.

In the words of another ministry ultra-marathoner, Apostle Paul:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Tony’s encouraged me to hope in the Lord, so that I may renew my strength at mile 15, at mile 20, and beyond (Isaiah 40:30-31). He’s been there for me all these miles (and smiles) of ministry and I’m grateful for his presence in my life.

I’ll see you at the finish line, Tony!

Entry filed under: About Life, Gracepoint Fellowship Church, Leadership Lessons. Tags: .

William Lane Craig’s Story Re-treat w/ Waypoint & Gracepoint Directors

7 Comments Add your own

  • […] just yesterday!  His good long-time friend Pastor Jonathan of Waypoint Community Church has some pictures and videos up that you have to […]

  • 2. Tony Sun  |  December 9, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Thanks, Jonathan for coming out! Your presence at 15 and 20 miles mark was crucial, just as you’ve been there for me during the crucial times of my spiritual journey as well. I thank God that we can run this race together to share the good news of the Gospel. I also look forward to continuing to run this race with you! Thanks bro!

  • 3. Elise Chon  |  December 9, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Hi Tony,

    This is great! I am so proud of you! I hope you will continue to run and motivate Sam to do it too!



    Hi Joong,

    Long time no see! Love your blog. Say hi to Susanna for me!


  • 4. ernieyeung  |  December 9, 2008 at 1:05 pm


  • 5. akim  |  December 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    This entry brought me to tears…What a race, what a friend.

  • 6. maurice  |  December 10, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Tony jdsn!! I wish I could have been there with you! I would have run the first 2 miles with you, then collapsed.

    Maybe if I started training now, I could run a marathon when I’m 41 as well! Or at least run that many total miles by then!

    On a serious note, you are amazing. Congrats on finishing the race – and though I’m in Austin and you in Berkeley, I am glad we are still running the spiritual race together. See you soon!

  • […] just yesterday!  His good long-time friend Pastor Jonathan of Waypoint Community Church has some pictures and videos up that you have to […]


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About Joong “Jonathan” Lee

This weblog contains thoughts & reflections as I pastor Gracepoint Austin Church (previously at Gracepoint Davis and Berkeley Churches) and engage in various ministries.


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