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10/15/97 Chance to minister couldn’t just run past this church

CLERMONT, Fla. (BP)–As pastor Danny W. Davis was driving to church one Sunday, he realized a mission opportunity was passing the church by — literally.
Athletes in training for Triathlon competition were running and biking down Montrose Street, where First Baptist Church, Clermont, Fla., is located.
“The Lord just laid it on my heart right then that we needed to do something to reach out to those athletes,” Davis said.
The church hosted a pre-race pasta dinner for triathletes and their families the night before the Florida Challenge Triathlon in Clermont, Sept. 21. About 60 church members, ranging from teens to senior adults, served 400 dinners in the church’s Christian Life Center. With Christian music playing in the background, they cooked and served the meals and extended Christian hospitality to guests. Gift packets, including the plan of salvation, were distributed.
The pre-race meal is a longstanding tradition, but this was the first time it was sponsored by a Christian organization, Davis noted. Since the dinner, he has received a letter from one of the triathletes, thanking the church for its care and concern. Many of the triathletes expressed appreciation to the congregation for making them feel so welcome.
With the success of their first outreach project to triathletes, church members already are talking about hosting an event next year for the premiere race of the season, The Great Floridian Triathlon, held in Clermont in October.
In recent years, Clermont has become the site of several prominent triathlons — a grueling competition of swimming, biking and running. The headquarters of USA Triathlon, the sport’s national governing body, recently relocated to Clermont from Colorado Springs, Colo.
Clermont, with its abundant hills and lakes, provides a good terrain and climate for such competition. It is possible the city could host future national championships, Olympic trials and world championships.

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  • Kristi Hodge