Kenneth Graves, director of Global Outreach mission trips and professor of Bible, runs anywhere from 25 to 45miles a week depending on the race he is training for. Graves said his running hobby started out as a way to get in shape, but has turned into an expression of self-discipline and self-control.
“He never mentioned how far he went, so I thought he went, a mile or two before work in the mornings,” Jessica Dunning, Graves’ assistant, said. “He runs like seven miles when it is an easy day, when it is a normal day it is like 12.”
Alumna Betsy Ezell, assistant to Graves, said he found out about Graves’ running hobby when she was hired as his teacher’s assistant 3 years ago. Graves not only works a full-time job, but is also an elder at Cloverdale Church of Christ.
“He is awake every morning at 4 (or) 4:30 ready to run,” Ezell said. “And he takes one day off a week. It is really impressive and he is really busy and still makes time for it.”
Graves said he has run on and off through the years, but started getting serious about it three years ago. On Graves’ daily runs, he uses his alone time to connect with God through prayer and audio books. Graves runs both trail and road races, which are smaller and more nature and focused
“The reason I like the trail race is because you are connecting with God and with nature, and time is almost of no importance,” Graves said. “I like to stop and take pictures, talk with other runners along the way, so it is really more about being out in nature and being fit and just running distance.”
Day-to-day Graves said he runs alone, but for races he will sometimes run with a group. Graves said he participates in road races throughout the year, his favorite being the St. Jude marathon in Memphis, Tennessee, which has more than 20,000 people at the starting line.
“You kind of get in the zone,” Graves said. “I enjoy the exercise. I enjoy excelling at something. I am 54-years-old and there is just something about being 54 and if I just want to kick it into cruise control and run for hours, I can. This Sunday I will probably do 12 miles and run for a couple of hours and it just feels good.”