This past weekend we had AIA Staff training and got to catch up on the happenings of fellow AIA Canadian staff members. I think one of my favorite people there is Albert Martens. He lives in Manitoba, so we only see him twice a year at the most. But he was such and inspiration to me–not only in is physical discipline, but also in his attitudes, personality, love for others (especially his wife), and all-around giddy-ness.

Albert is a runner. I truly believe that God created some people, not many, very differently from the rest of us. Those are the people who enjoy running in excess of 20 or 30 miles. I married someone similar to this… but not quite that extreme.

We heard from Albert this weekend about his ministry within AIA, AIA Run. He’s pioneering this ministry to reach out to runners around the world. As he explained, running is quite a lonely sport in that you are by yourself from start to finish. He told us about his attempts a few years ago to finish the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara. (He’s completed it many times, but did not finishe the last one.) Into the first few days of the trip, he’d set up camp at the check point and was preparing his dinner (that he’d carried with him) on a camp stove. He pulled out a packet (which he didn’t read at the time) that said “DO NOT EAT” from his new day pack thinking it was seasoning for his food. Later he had massive stomach pain, but carried on after the doctors checked him out. But before he made it to the next checkpoint, he realized he wasn’t going to make it much longer and so sent off a flare and signaled for the medics to come find him and take him to the hospital. Thus ended his Marathon des Sables.

Here’s Albert’s blog post about the Marathon des Sables. Scroll down most of the way to the “EMOTIONS” section to hear his story about that day and to see more pictures.

In addition to lots of Canadian marathons, Albert also completed the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2004. Brian and I watched something on the Discovery Channel about the Badwater Ultramarathon, not realizing we know someone who has completed it. We were shocked at what people willingly put themselves through. The Badwater footrace is through Death Valley in CA. The temperatures are so hot that the runners have to keep their shoes on the white lines of the pavement, otherwise the asphalt will melt their soles!

Albert crossing the finish line at the 2004 Badwater (from the Badwater website).

Albert hugging one of his crew members.
Albert with his crew holding the flags of Benin and Canada.

Here’s an article from Adventure CORPS (the organization who hosted the Badwater) about Albert and his personal footrace.

So if you, or someone you know, would be interested in Albert’s ministry, let me know and I’ll pass on their information to him. It is his desire to encourage fellow runners not only through Spiritual support, but also tips on running, nutrition, and other aspects of physically and mentally training for a marathon.

I also thought I’d let you know I’m planning to run in the Vancouver Sun Run! (As long as we’re back from Easter Vacation.) It’s only a 5K, but it’s my first official. It’s my goal to jog the entire thing… so I’m building my running base and hope to be ready to run at least half an hour without stopping. We’ll see how it goes!


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