Local Pastor leaves comfort zone to run KC Marathon

Merle Mees already has a strong presence in the Kansas City area. As lead pastor at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, he inspires and leads people on a daily Pastor Merle Mees_smallbasis.  However, Mees has recently been inspired by Team World Vision, the largest non-government provider of clean water in the developing world, who make their goals possible by running long distances.

Before undertaking Team World Vision’s mission and challenge, Mees considered his exercise regimen “regular but not consistent” and had never run over 3 miles at one time.  In October, Mees is going well out of his comfort zone to run a full 26.2 miles at the 2015 Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds.

Mees is working to conquer this challenge with the help of Team World Vision and 400 other runners, 270 from Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, all of which are registered to run in the Kansas City Marathon. They have a goal of raising $100,000 for the 2015 race, with even higher expectations for 2016.

Team World Vision is “a community of people helping each other to get to the finish line while changing lives around the world.”  They are dedicated to supplying children in poverty with clean drinking water.

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church run300For only $50, a child will have clean drinking water for a lifetime.  This simple donation allows supplies to build latrines for communities, resources to practice sanitary habits such as washing their hands, and children to go to school instead of spending the day fetching water for their family.

Team World Vision have group runs every Saturday starting at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church for all of the participants in the Northland.  Mees says “we’ve experienced a real sense of purpose as a group, doing something in the name of Jesus for those who do not have the benefits we take for granted.  A number of people have found that they can actually do more than they ever imagined they could from raising money to running distances.”

MWorld Team Vision Shirt_225ees also describes his fitness journey as a spiritual experience, “I don’t run with an iPod or MP3 player because as I run it gives me time and space to pray, to think and to wonder.  Running long distances has been a time to challenge myself to push beyond my previous limits.”

Mees is excited to run in familiar territory on October 17 and believes it is important to support this marathon as a community.  “I’m big on shopping local and eating local, so supporting the KC Marathon is a great way to say I’m glad to be part of such a great community.”

By Alexa Bordewick, Marketing and Communications Intern