Father Carlson completes marathon!

October 5, 2011

Faith Outdoors

As I pulled out of my driveway Sunday morning to photograph a Jesuit event, I thought of Father Alex Carlson of Epiphany in Coon Rapids. It was about 9 a.m. and I knew he would be passing within a mile of my house in the next two or three hours.

For the first time, he decided to run the Twin Cities Marathon, which started at 8 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis. It was a beautiful day and he got off to a great start. He slowed down during the second half of the race, but he was able to finish in four hours, 42 minutes and 17 seconds.

“It was a fun experience,” he said. “I started out pretty well. I ran two hours, eight minutes in the first half of the marathon. Then, I cramped up at mile 17. I would run as far as I could ’til the cramps got too bad, then I’d try to walk them off and then run again. It was a walk-run combination from [mile] 17 on.”

He had hoped to beat the time Oprah Winfrey ran in a marathon back in 1994 — four hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds. That’s what he told me in an interview for a story published in the most recent issue of The Catholic Spirit. Though he didn’t reach that goal, he is happy with the race overall.

“I beat my brother-in-law [Jeff Rosen, 4:55], which was cool,” he said. “And, a lot of parishioners came down, so that was good.”

One goal he did reach was $4,000 in pledges for Epiphany School. He doesn’t have a final amount, but he has surpassed $4,000.

“We’re still collecting,” he said. “We’re over the goal, I know that much. I had that reached last week.”

As always, he prayed the Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the race — actually, more than once.

“Probably about seven to 10 times, at least,” he said. “And, I did a rosary, too. When I started cramping, I prayed the rosary. It gave me some courage, that’s for sure.”

He plans on taking at least a month off from running, then he’ll decide how much he wants to do and whether he’ll run the marathon next year. His desire to beat Oprah’s time is still there, plus “there’s always going to be fundraising that needs to be done.”


About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek