12 April 2002

Marathon minister prepares to take to the streets of London

Methodist minister Ron Morris has vowed to be a winner in the London Marathon this Sunday. He is predicting he will come first in the category for retired 68-year-old Texan preachers running their first marathon.

Despite taking Sunday 14 April off from the pulpit, the Rev Ron Morris said he would not forget his usual commitments. He will be wearing a t-shirt that says `I should be in church' on the front and `You should too' on the back.'

He is hoping his marathon efforts will raise up to £7,000 for three Methodist churches where he is minister in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Proceeds from his run will help fund roof repairs at Hall Royd, a new heating system at Wrose and disabled toilet facilities at Crag Road.

Ron retired as minister of St Luke's United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas, last year but came out of retirement to move to Britain to become minister at Hall Royd, Wrose and Crag Road churches for a year.

The former college basketball player said: "I've got three goals - to finish alive, to finish in six hours or less and to raise as much money as possible for the three churches. Until I came over here I'd never even jogged but I've always kept myself fairly fit and am really looking forward to London.'

The minister's coach and running partner is fellow Methodist Jim Parrish, a 65-year-old marathon veteran and retired accountant. Jim is aiming to raise £1,000 for schemes in Africa run by the Methodist Relief and Development Fund.

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