Man on the Run

It’s not often that people get to combine their passion with their career. For Tim Borland, it was an interesting road.

It’s not often that people get to combine their passion with their career. For Tim Borland, it was an interesting road. If you had told him 10 years ago that he would be running for a living, he may have laughed or at least given you a smile. But, it was when Tim was 22 years old that he realized he was overweight and out-of-shape that things started to change. Being from a family of recreational joggers, he thought he’d give running a try. “I hated running. I was not a runner.”

After some time, Tim found running enjoyable. He even caught an occasional runner’s high. Like many runners, after a race, you desire to run stronger, run longer distances, and run them in a shorter time. Over a year ago, Tim was running better and stronger so he continued to run longer races as a challenge–marathons once a month led to marathons once a week. “I was now running to see how far I could run each day with little recovery.”

Then at a particular race in August 2006, Tim found himself on his knees before a 50k run. He sincerely prayed, “I’ve come to a place where I feel, Lord, you’ve given me a gift to run, the strength to run. Today, I’m going to go out and run this race, a race that I don’t even feel qualified to run. Make today a ‘make it, or break it’ realization. If I run well, I’ll take this as a sign to move on.” With that prayer, Tim ended up not only finishing strong, but in 4th place. He dropped to knees and told the Lord that his running was His now. “I put my running in the offering plate. I wanted there to be a kingdom purpose to it.”

God didn’t answer Tim immediately. It was a year later. Through prayer, meeting the right people and patience, he connected with a father whose daughter had ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a rare and fatal children’s disease that causes degeneration in the part of the brain that controls motor movements and speech. So, he ran in the A-T CureTour–running a full 26.2 miles each day while pushing a mobility-jogging stroller for 63 days in 63 different communities across the U.S. “This gave me a chance to run and serve others. Now I was running with a purpose: to help find a cure.”

Tim said that this event was a life-changing experience for his whole family. He knew that his calling was to run and to be an advocate to children in need. In that process, Tim met Tony and Marilyn Amburgy. Tony also began to consider running for a purpose–to help Shaohannah’s Hope, Steven Curtis Chapman’s foundation that raises money and awareness for Christian adoption and orphan needs. And the development of Running Hope started shortly after. With that meeting, Tony encouraged Tim to consider being a part of and running for Running Hope. With his completion of the A-T CureTour, Tim took his next step. He moved his family from California to Georgia to work for Running Hope. Running Hope is a development arm for Shaohannah’s Hope. They try to increase the funds within the adoption grant fund through running and walking. The money raised is used to give grants to families to adopt orphans. “We provide people a way–that have a heart for orphans and adoptions–to use their body to raise support. We have about 50 team hope runners around the world.”

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Tim is the director of development for Running Hope. His main objective is to carry out their mission of helping orphans by promoting running and walking to make a difference in an orphan’s life. He accomplishes this through coaching, training, maintaining teams around the country, fundraising, speaking, promoting, managing expos, public relations and, of course … RUNNING!

So, what’s next for Tim? In the short term he has the Marine Core marathon in October. In the long term, “I’m planning another big multi-day run around the U.S., The Orphan Run for 2010. It’s a big dream right now, but I’m trying to get things set-up for that.” You can also catch him in the documentary Feat, which chronicles Tim running 26.2 miles a day for 63 consecutive days for the A-T cure tour.

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