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SBC Pastor Runs 153 Consecutive Marathons, Raising Awareness for Adoption, Foster Care, Youth Mental Health

Malachi O'Brien
Photo courtesy of Malachi O'Brien

Malachi O’Brien, pastor of The Church at Pleasant Ridge in Missouri, broke the Guinness World Record for running a marathon for 62 consecutive days on Dec. 8, 2022.

Nevertheless, the pastor, who goes by the nickname “Dr. Run,” didn’t stop after he broke the record. He continued running until he reached consecutive marathon number 153, which he completed on Wednesday, March 8.

Previously held by Dombivli, India’s Vishak Krishnaswamy, O’Brien started his men’s world record attempt on Oct. 6, 2022, running every single day—no matter whether he was away on business, family vacations, or holidays.

After completing his 62nd marathon, O’Brien told ChurchLeaders that his goal for running was to bring awareness to youth mental health, as well as adoption and foster care.

These two cause are deeply personal to O’Brien’s family. O’Brien was adopted when he was three years old, and he and his family recently adopted through the foster care system. He and his wife was were awakened by the today’s crisis of youth mental health after their oldest daughter survived a suicide attempt approximately one year ago.

RELATED: Pastor Runs 62 Consecutive Marathons To Raise Awareness for Adoption, Foster Care, Youth Mental Health, Breaking Guinness World Record

On Tuesday (March 7), O’Brien joined New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas on his “The Eric Metaxas Radio Show!” to discuss his historic feat and why he is bringing his long journey to a close.

Through the counsel of friends around the time of the Asbury University outpouring, O’Brien shared with Metaxas that he landed on ending his world record run at 153.

“I thought I could go forever, and I want to keep going,” O’Brien said. “I want to see how far I can push the limit, but I can tell my body is breaking down.”

O’Brien revealed that he was originally going to stop at marathon 151, because it was one more than 32-year-old Australian female runner Erchana Murray-Bartlett completed in January. Murray-Bartlett crushed the previous women’s world record of 106 marathons in 106 days held by Kate Jayden.

“Dr. Run” changed his magic number to 153 marathons in 153 days after a recent conversation with Metaxas, who encouraged O’Brien toward 153 because it is a “magical number from the Gospels.”

Metaxas’ reference is found in John 21:11, where Jesus tells the disciples to cast their nets on the right side of the boat to find fish.