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Southern Baptists walk for wellness

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–GuideStone Financial Resources hosted its annual Wellness Walk/Run in San Antonio June 12, with nearly 600 messengers and their family members attending.

The purpose of the walk, GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said, is to “demonstrate the entity’s ongoing commitment to wellness,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said.

“[The body is] the temple of the Holy Spirit,” Hawkins said, “and we have a stewardship of this physical gift from God. It is our desire to continue to raise the standard high and call upon our Southern Baptist friends to get serious about their personal wellness and begin to make right choices leading to healthier lifestyles.”

Before daybreak in San Antonio, walkers and runners of all ages began gathering in HemisFair Park to demonstrate their own commitment to wellness. After a short warm-up, 5K (kilometer) runners started off at about 6:30.

Participants had the option of walking or running either a one-mile or 5K course. One-mile participants walked a course within HemisFair Park, while 5K participants followed a course through the park, around the Alamodome and back.

From 2-year-old Abigail Merck to 74-year-old John Tygart, families and friends enjoyed the warm Texas morning, the exercise and the fellowship. Some were serious runners, while others were taking their first steps toward a more physical lifestyle.

Along with Abigail were her parents, Lee and Christie Merck and Abigail’s sisters, Maggie, 11, Caroline, 8, and Colleen, 6. Lee is pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Clinton, N.C. Christie’s mom, Beverly Cottingham, also walked along with son-in-law, David Williamson and his 5-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn.

John Tygart, a retired pastor from Sedalia, Mo., walked for the first time along with his wife Sarah. After multiple heart attacks and several bypass surgeries, Tygart got the “OK” from his doctor and said he was excited about getting out to walk for his health.

Donald Boyd of Nashville, Tenn., was the first to complete the 5K run with a time of 18 minutes, 36 seconds. Stephanie Petersen of Holden, Mo., was the fastest female with a time of 22 minutes, 35 seconds.

First to cross the finish line for the one-mile run were 14-year-old Jonathan Smolen of Bellevue, Neb., and his mom, Linda.

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  • Wendy Ashley