In the United Kingdom, Latter-day Saint runners are a rare sight at running events because most of the events are held on Sunday. Faced with the decision to either run on Sunday or not participate, members of the Selsdon ward in South London chose a third option: to hold their own running event. They scheduled a half-marathon on a Saturday and invited local churches, running clubs, and gyms to participate. Their half-marathon, held on April 17, drew 28 runners.
David Eaton, the event organizer, said that the ward’s intention was to make a stand for values and give others an opportunity to do the same.
While this year’s turnout was small, Brother Eaton hopes to double the entries next year. He has good reason to hope: the response from participants was appreciative, and many members of the community who saw the half-marathon asked to be involved next year. Brother Eaton said, “We wanted to make a positive change in the community by poking our heads up and saying, ‘Look here, we’re . . . Christians, and as such we want to try to keep the Sabbath day holy by not running in events.’”
The Selsdon ward’s proactive response allowed members to enjoy a running event without violating the Sabbath day and to share beliefs at the same time.