As thousands of competitors ran in the London Marathon on a recent Sunday morning, Vic Jackson and John Morris attended their Church meetings. They had completed their marathon early Saturday morning.
Both wanted to achieve marathon success and observe the Sabbath. The men, members of the Selsdon Ward, London England Wandsworth Stake, decided to begin their marathon over the official course by running Saturday morning. In fact, they ran slightly further than competitors in the race because they were not running in roads free of traffic and, at some junctions, they had to cross traffic lights where traffic had begun to build up.Jackson, a public health engineer, completed the course in 4 hours 26 minutes. He was sponsored by members throughout the stake who raised several hundred pounds for both the local stake building fund and funds for building in Africa.
Morris is spending six months with his wife and son in Croydon, researching his family history. He lives in New Zealand and is a computer systems analyst for a rail company. Less familiar with the course, he left it and was lost for some time. He estimates he ran an extra four miles as a result.
The story of the two LDS men's marathon was enthusiastically received by local newspapers and published in many series newspapers throughout South London. It is estimated that the story and photograph of their marathon reached between 750,000 and 1 million households. As a result of this story, several links were made with newspaper reporters who expressed interest in receiving copies of the Book of Mormon and information about the Church. Some newspapers are considering additional features about the Church as a result of reporters' contacts with the runners.