SIDNEY — When the sixth annual 5K Run/Walk for Vocations gets underway in Carthagena, Saturday, Nov. 10, organizers say participants will have the chance to “run with a nun.”
They’ll also have the chance to run with the Rev. Peter Langenkamp, Holy Angels parochial vicar, of Sidney, as well as the Rev. Steve dos Santos, vocation director for Missionaries of Precious Blood, and Sister Martha Bertke, a sister of the Precious Blood, of Coldwater.
The event, sponsored by the Coldwater Knights of Columbus, attracts almost 200 runners and walkers each year and raises funds to support seminarians. Registrations are still open at http://mercerhealth5kchallenge.com/races/knights-columbus-run-vocations. Same-day registratins runs from 8 to 9:40 a.m. and the race will begin at 10 a.m. at the St. Charles Center, 2860 U.S. Route 127, Celina.
Awards, among them pumpkin pies, will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each of 11 age groups. Water will be provided along the route, and there will be refreshments at the finish. The race is open to walkers and runners of all faiths.
“In recent years, there has been in an increase in vocations to religious life in the U.S. We want to get that fact out there and remind people that religious life is a great option to live out their Catholic faith,” said Jenna Legg, vocation ministry coordinator of the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton, in an email.
Event Coordinator Steve Schmidt said raising awareness of Catholic vocations is one of the goals of the race.
“And lots of walkers come out each year. It’s not just for runners,” he said.
Although Langenkamp is fairly new to running — he’s been hitting the pavement for just five years — he has run the Carthagena 5K before and has completed a half marathon in Chicago and a full marathon in Cincinnati.
“When I was studying to become a priest in Cincinnati at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, there were a number of other men at the seminary who ran,” the Coldwater native said. “My good friends got me into it. It was the ability to be with friends, to run, to talk. It’s also running for a cause, raising funds.”
The distance runs started almost as soon as he took up the hobby.
“I was in Chicago one summer with this community of Franciscans. They were going to run in the fall to raise money for their community. I agreed to run a half marathon with them. I trained all summer and in the fall went back up and ran with them,” Langenkamp said.
He met the challenge of a full marathon in the summer of 2017 when he tackled the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati.
“I was a little frightened to do it: run 26 miles in May and two weeks later be ordained as a priest. ‘Will I even be able to walk down the aisle (for the ordination)?’ Friends said, ‘You can do this. You’ll recover very quickly.’ And I did,” Langenkamp said.
He particularly likes the course of the Carthegena race.
“The 5K covers the scenic grounds of the St. Charles Center and the surrounding area,” said event coordinator Steve Schmidt.
“It’s beautiful there,” Langenkamp said. It also means a lot that proceeds help seminarians. This year’s fundraising goal, Schmidt said, is $3,000.
“As a seminarian, I got support from the Knights of Columbus,” Langenkamp said.
Since his ordination, the Sidney priest has been too busy to run every day, but he and a friend in Coldwater are “looking for a half marathon we can run,” he said. Running, he added, is far from boring.
“It can be surprisingly peaceful and rejuvenating. I try to run without earbuds. It’s a time to think about things,” he said.
He appreciates the challenge that distance running presents. And it’s not just a physical challenge. It’s spiritual, too.
“It’s interesting how St. Paul uses the imagery of racing in his letters,” Langenkamp said. He quoted from the Bible, 2nd Timothy 4: 7-8: “… I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …”
“I have run the race. I wear the crown. It’s very scriptural. To experience that gives new insight into the scriptures, the spiritual reality of running this race to the Lord,” he said.
For race information, call 419-852-8663.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.