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Grand Rapids priest hopes to inspire others by running in annual River Bank Run

Posted at 12:55 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 11:12:23-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A priest at Grand Rapids Cathedral of St. Andrew is taking part in the annual River Bank Run this weekend.

He’s hoping to inspire folks of all running abilities to take on a new challenge.

“There's something when it's a race day and there's so many people running together, which is exciting,” said Father René Constanza.

For Father Constanza, his days at St. Andrew Cathedral in downtown Grand Rapids, while fulfilling, are often quite busy.

“When I take time away from the routine of life, it gives me that creativity to think how else is God calling me to serve,” explained Father Constanza.

When he takes to the trails it is a time for serene reflection.

“Alone, it's basically for me to process things, to quiet down,” said Father Constanza. “I love the trails because that provides that environment that aspect of creation that is beautiful and nourishing for my soul.”

But his running is certainly not aimless. Father Constanza looks at it as a metaphor for life.

“You know, the pilgrimage of life where we're not alone. We're accompanied by so many people who sort of support us in many ways as well as encourage us to continue move along in the pilgrimage.”

He wasn’t always running these long distances. The process began slowly.

“I started walking and running my first mile and then increased and then, later on, ran 5Ks, and then 10Ks, and then half marathon and now I'm doing the 25k and hopefully next year I'll be bold enough to do the marathon,” said Father Constanza.

He is excited for this weekend: the challenge, the camaraderie, and the possibility of what he might accomplish next.

“We have runners, we have walkers, we have people who pace themselves and I think that's the beauty of it that no matter what level you're at, we are called to enjoy this run.”

Father Constanza says several of his parishioners will be joining him in the Amway River Bank Run this weekend. We wish them the best of luck!