In August of 2013, we began hearing from God and people in our circle that a Christ centered running program was needed in the Joplin community
Through prayer and counsel, we made a decision to offer 5K training to beginners at our local church. With a goal to coach 20 students, we developed a Facebook page, set a September date, made a signup sheet, sent some invites, reserved the chapel, and had no idea what God might do next. We would begin the ride (run) of our lives.
That evening in September of 2013, over 145 people showed up to learn to run a 5K. We were officially in panic mode. Not enough seats, not enough leaders, not enough registration forms, not enough pens. We had experienced our first growth spurt and we held on for the ride. Week after week, we brought in experts from the area on nutrition, stretching, and running mechanics. We would also invite local motivators, business owners, and encouragers to help us along the way.
We ran laps on the church parking lot in the wind, snow, rain, and cold. We began to see deep friendships forming in tough conditions. With graduation day approaching, we had red t-shirts printed and made a deal with the local YMCA to run in their annual New Year’s Day 5K.
While many people were pondering their 2014 resolutions at home, the team began to swell in numbers at the start line. The other runners began to look curiously at this team of red. One person shouted to another, “Wow, looks like the red sea is here!” The Red Sea Fitness Team was born.
Today, The Red Sea Fitness Team is much more than teaching physical wellness. Our approach consists of multiple Biblical components that emphasize total well-being; financial, mental, emotional, physical, and mostly spiritual. Since our small and slightly shortsighted beginning in 2013, nearly 500 family team members have completed their first 5K run, some even competing in 10K, half marathon, and marathon events. No one left behind and nearly all stay connected in weekly meetings and communication.
The Red Sea Fitness Team is continuing wellness growth through our 10 structured, yet flexible training plans with personalized coaching. Each class session brings a Bible devotion time, focus on relationship, team building, and exercising the gifts of each of the family team members. Many would testify they learned how to do relationship right at The Red Sea. It’s family first and friendly.
We are constantly in development of new service opportunities in our community, such as Wounded Warriors, running 24 hours continuously as a team on treadmills to raise nearly $7,000. We partner with local, regional, and national companies to develop events, donate time and monies, and consult on projects to help kids in need, feed the homeless, mentor troubled teens, or dig wells in India.
Our race event, The Amazing GRace, became the 2nd largest running and walking event in the city of Joplin, MO in it’s first year of existence, testimony that our communities crave hope, renewal, and the power of worship through wellness experiences. He is the God of all cities and people.
The future at The Red Sea Fitness Team is bright. Many are trapped in the slavery of illness; physical, financial, mental, emotional, and spiritual conditions in grave condition. In Exodus 14:15, when the downtrodden people are faced with the pursuing army in one direction and a sea of water in the other, He tells them to “Get Moving! God will make a way". We invite you to become a family team member of The Red Sea Fitness Team. We are going His way.