Volunteer helps get running club off the ground

Man running race

Edgar felt compelled to
bring his love of running
to the Mission's residents.

Edgar Rivera first came to the Mission with his church, Calvary Ventura. The group served a meal and Edgar immediately wanted to get more involved.

What happened after that first volunteer experience?

Something got through to my heart. It was really just an idea I had to tie spiritual and physical health together. That's what running did for me. I just want to share that with others. I want to give back what God gave to me, for his glory.

How did you get into running?

When I was 36, I went for a walk with my coffee at the Promenade. I saw all these people running and thought, 'I could do that.' The following week I ran for a half mile and felt like I almost died. The next week I came back and did a mile. After a month and a half, I did six miles. At this point, I felt less like I was trying and more like I was training. I told my wife, 'I'm going to run a marathon.' She said, 'You're crazy.' In 2012, after three-and-a-half months of training, I did it.

And 10 years later, how has running changed for you?

When I started, it was always about doing better on the next one, getting a medal, and what I could accomplish on my own. In 2019, I came to Christ and gave my life to Him. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.

It slowed me down a little, but I scheduled my surgery, and I told God, 'Going forward, I'm going to run for your glory.' I started thinking about doing something with the Mission, and it's changed everything for me.

It's been about a year since the running club began. What were those early weeks like?

One of first runs we did, we went up to a trail in Ventura. A young guy started sharing with me, and after a while I said, 'Do you realize you've been running for four miles?' That's hard to do, over stones, in dirt, and talking the whole time. The joy that gave me was huge.

I didn't think the club was going to gain so much traction from the get-go. We prayed and we planned, but God had all the plans. It blossomed right away.

What kind of impact has the running club had on you?

I thought that I was going to be helping this group, but it's really been a huge blessing to me, seeing their joy. One of the things we talk about is that in races-and in life-you're going to feel like giving up. But there's a finish line, and you're going to have