Running for life

Running for life | World Vision Blog

Tammy Kasal after running the Monster half-marathon.

Every day, our amazing supporters – like Lopez Lomong, Daniel Bauer, and Kristy Everard – overcome their own challenges to help people in need around the world by running for Team World Vision.

Today, read about our fourth and final runner, Tammy Kasal, and how she overcame her "fear of failure and desire to control my life" and said "Yes" to God's call!


I work as a healthcare IT analyst and live in St. Paul, MN with my husband and three kids (ages 3, 4, and 5). I have been overweight or obese for as much of my life as I can remember. My highest weight was 385 pounds at the end of my first pregnancy in October 2008. I was addicted to food, and losing hope of ever being healthy.

As I faced motherhood and found myself responsible for three precious gifts in the span of three short years, I knew I needed to change.      

While I was calming a fussy baby late one evening in January 2012, I found myself watching a sermon by Matt Chandler, unaware that God was about to drastically change my life. Matt read the first three verses of Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake

He paused on the last phrase, “for his name’s sake.”

Matt went on to read multiple verses highlighting God’s promises to us for the sake of his glorious name. As a Type A, perfectionist, control freak, I was familiar with making good on promises to protect my name. For the first time in my life, I actually believed that God would help me … and that he did.

I started the “Couch to 5K” program in February 2012 and ran my first race with Team World Vision in October 2013, the Monster Dash Half Marathon. Since joining Team World Vision, I've been pushed outside my comfort zone, but I had others right there alongside me, encouraging me to keep going … and I needed some encouragement because despite the amazing team, I ran the worst race of my life at Monster Dash.

After the race, I contemplated giving up running altogether. Depression and anxiety that I had dealt with in high school and college resurfaced and I struggled to even get out of bed. I found myself in a cardiologist’s office undergoing multiple tests to find the cause of some horrible chest pain, only to find out that extreme anxiety was causing all of the issues.

Once again, I was in a place where I needed God desperately, and once again, he started doing a major renovation on my heart. 

One night, during the middle of all of this, I heard that still small voice say to me, “Do the marathon.” I hadn’t even been thinking about running, I was just trying to get through each day, so I quickly dismissed it because me running a marathon would be absurd. But the voice didn’t stop, and I continued to struggle with it. 

A few months later, my friend Sinead signed up to “do the marathon” and gave me a gentle nudge. I talked it over with my husband, because our schedule was difficult and it would be a big sacrifice, but he gave me the green light. I went online to sign up, looked at the course time limit, laughed out loud, and closed the web browser. It wasn’t going to happen. 

Shortly after that, I listened to a message by Jonathan Martin from Renovatus Church. Here is a synopsis of his message:

We only think we want resurrection. To surrender to resurrection means we have to first surrender to the great unknown, death, to fling headlong into the mystery of night. We cannot know resurrection is coming – we can only hope for it. Even so, to cling to a mere form of life that is no longer vibrant is to choose no life at all. If resurrection is even a hope for us, there is no alternative except the most terrible of human feats – letting go.

I knew immediately that “doing the marathon” was God’s way of showing me that my fear of failure and desire to control my life needed to die, so that he could bring resurrection. So with a big, giant gulp and a whole lot of prayer, I said “Yes” to God and signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon with Team World Vision.

Even though I’ve lost over 140 pounds, I’m still overweight and I’m still slow. Running 26.2 miles is going to be a tremendous struggle for me. I’m not confident in my ability to finish the race in the time allowed, but on October 5, I will run/walk/hobble 26.2 miles, trusting that God’s power will be perfected in my weakness, knowing that people in Africa will have access to clean water because I was crazy enough to say “Yes” to what God has called me to do.

In a week and a half, Tammy will be running in the Twin Cities Marathon to provide clean water for 52 people! Help support her as she runs to accomplish what God has called her to do.

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    I love this! You're a big inspiration to me! May you continue to sense God's love and strength as you train, prepare, and run!

    Run for your Life! Run for clean water in Africa! Water is Life! Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!

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