Olympic faith initiative passes major milestone in race to one million

(Photo: J John)

An initiative to share the powerful story of Scottish Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, is set to inspire a new generation of athletes and believers over the course of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With the passing of the milestone of 100,000 copies distributed throughout the UK and around the world, it continues to build momentum on its way to reaching its goal of handing out a million copies.

Immortalised in the classic movie Chariots of Fire, whose stirring soundtrack has become a staple of sporting events, Liddell was known for his unwavering faith in God and his refusal to compromise his beliefs for anyone—even at the risk of missing out on Olympic glory.

Refusing to participate in any sporting activity on the Sabbath, including training, Liddell was confronted with a stark choice when he heard that the heats for the 100m event would be held on a Sunday. Despite the very real risk of missing out on a gold medal in an event he was a strong favourite for, and the pressure brought to bear on him by the sporting establishment, he refused to take part. Instead, he entered the 400m event, winning gold and setting a new world record in the process.

Evangelist J John was inspired by Liddell's story to create a booklet called Running the Race of Your Life, with the aim of creating curiosity and conversation during the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024.

As part of preparations for a summer season of sport-themed ministry to prisoners, 47,000 copies have already been distributed to UK prison chaplains and other prison-focused groups. Other groups have used it as a gift for parents at Olympic-themed children's holiday clubs, foodbanks, door drops throughout the community, and in schools and churches across the country.

"We are delighted that this booklet has already had such a significant reach. It is such a simple resource to be able to give to someone to stir curiosity and conversation," J John said.

"We are still praying that we might 'God-willing' distribute one million copies by the end of the year, and we are planning how we can further develop this initiative to reach even more people with the Good News of Jesus."

Abigail Irozuru, an Olympic long jumper, said, "This little pamphlet is a wonderful reminder of the power of sport as a vehicle to fulfil the gifts and purposes of the Lord in our lives.

"Everybody has their own ministry and it's amazing that Liddell's lives on in a legacy that has spanned a century ... It particularly resonates with me as an Olympic long jumper; his story has always inspired me.

"Hopefully, in the hands of young people, this will be a great opportunity for them to reflect on what comes first in their lives - rightfully elevating God's plans, purposes and promises in their lives, no matter how difficult that may be."

Full details of this initiative and free samples of the booklet are available at raceofyourlife.co.uk