Largest Olivet Team World Vision team runs Chicago

Sunday, Oct. 11, Olivet’s portion of the Team World Vision marathon team toed the line of a 26.2-mile race—the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Sophomores Hannah Francis and Ryan Burch shared their journeys from signup to crossing the finish line as just a small sample of the many marathon stories Olivet’s students have to tell.

Both runners made the choice to run this race when, alongside many classmates, a second-semester chapel called any interested persons to sign up to run with Team World Vision.

“It was super impulsive,” said Francis, and Burch answered similarly. “It seemed like a good idea,” he said, it would be a good way to stay fit, and added that it was also a decision made on a whim.

According to, getting started involves signing up and registering, and then support and training aides are made available. Marathoner junior Trevor Workman said runners send out a link to the Team World Vision website where donations can be made, and other fundraisers send out letters to raise awareness of the cause they are running for.

From sign up, the real challenge begins with training. The hardest part of training was “probably all of it,” Francis said.

Both runners described how long they kept with the training program, and neither followed it 100 percent. Whether due to busy school schedules or just fading consistency, both runners confessed to missing runs here and there.

Burch, as other trainees did, experienced growing injury as the race approached. With a developing knee problem and a trip to an orthopedic doctor the Wednesday before, he was convinced to quit training and not run the marathon. However, founder of Team World Vision Michael Chitwood, who spoke on Thursday, Oct. 8, just three days before the race, convinced him otherwise.

Olivet’s runners met for a 4:00 a.m. departure from campus to drive to Chicago.

“I don’t know if I’ll have to stop at five miles in or 20,” Burch messaged before reaching the bus.

From the Team World Vision tent to individual corrals, each racer was grouped by pace for starting times between 7:20 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.

It seems the majority of the race was somewhat of a blur. Burch recalled seeing family twice on the course and Francis mentioned “funny signs and high-fives,” and both runners had to battle injury.

“There was a lot of praying going on during the race,” Francis said.

At mile 10, she experienced a growing pain from an old injury in her leg and prayed for God to take the pain away. Otherwise, she added, she wouldn’t be able to finish. God took the pain away. Burch also experienced a flare up of his previously mentioned injuries and limped the last seven miles.

Burch ran the marathon despire his asthma and injuries “partially so no one has an excuse not to do anything,” he said, and running with Team World Vision just gave him more motivation and an ability to help others.

Francis agreed with the sentiment. Running for a team was “amazing,” she said, knowing she was running for a purpose.

Is either runner going to run again? The consensus seemed positive. “I kind of have that disease [of wanting to run],” Burch said, and Francis’s response reflected Burch’s, too: “I’m totally doing it again.”
As of Oct. 15, and according to Olivet’s Twitter page, Team World Vision Olivet runners “raised $78,000 for clean water! Also: most runners ever & most money ever raised!”

Francis and Burch are only two of the 150 students, faculty and staff who took on the Chicago Marathon this year. For more information about Team World Vision go to

Heather Halverson, copy editor

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