About 120 runners and walkers suited up with their tennis shoes and racing gear for the Pilots 5K Run/Walk earlier this fall. It shouldn’t be surprising that one of them was avid-runner Christian Davis, Ph.D., associate professor of English. After all, recreational running has been a part of his daily routine for many years.

A runner in college and marathoner from the age of 17, Davis used to take running pretty seriously.

“When I was doing marathons, I made sure that I averaged at least 13 kilometers per day for at least eight weeks before the race, and I did at least two training runs of 30 kilometers or more during that time,” says Davis.

When he came to know Christ in 1982, however, he saw that running had become an idol for him and gave up racing entirely. But when the professor began coaching track at Bethel in 1995, he decided to try it again. Davis brought in 22 students who set Bethel records in their events, despite losing to the competition. As he took up recreational racing, he had to set boundaries for his own heart’s priorities.

“Since I began doing occasional races again in 1995, I have had to monitor my attitude to make sure that I don’t return to putting running ahead of the Lord in my heart,” he says.

Davis, who placed third with a time of 19:13 in this fall’s 5K, now takes a much more balanced approach to running. He runs for good health and because it’s fun.

Check out the start of the Pilots 5K Run/Walk below.