Running To HeavenAug 10, 2015 10:49AM ● By Bryan Scott
By Kaleb Loftus
The LDS faith is known for building temples and going to them, but have you ever seen them run to them?
That’s exactly what will be happening in the 7th Annual Temple to Temple Steeplechase. On Labor Day, September 7, 500 participants will run from the Oquirrh Mountain Temple to the Jordan River Temple. The run is 5 miles long and all registration fees are donated to the LDS Temple Patrons Fund that provides financial assistance to impoverished members of the LDS faith so that they can attend the temple.
Race slots are not full yet and registration is still open and can be done on their website, www.templesteeplechase.com. The race is unique to South Jordan as it is the only city where there are two dedicated LDS temples. Darylne McPheeters and Cynthia Dye founded the race when the Oquirrh Mountain Temple was being built. They would run in between streets from temple to temple and thought it would be cool to get a lot of people to do it.
“We named it a steeplechase because runners have to run across obstacles and we feel that going to the temple has obstacles. Obstacles are like running across the bridge over Bangerter Highway, running with your family, and just running five miles. Every family and individual has obstacles as they try to get to the temple,” McPheeters said.
The race is more than just exercise or receiving your medallion at the finish; this may be as close as you get to running in heaven. The race motto is, “Where your feet are firmly here on earth, but your sights are lifted to the skies!” At the beginning of each race they begin with a group prayer and they ask all the runners to walk reverently through the temple parking lot.
Anyone can participate and run in the race. “A lady pushing triplets in a stroller. At mile four a mom is putting her little kid on her back and carrying her the rest of the way. The second year I ran next to someone who just finished cancer treatment and it was the first big thing she did and that was really touching,” McPheeters said.
Along with the race, there’s a fireside held where anyone is welcome to come, whether they run or not. In past years speakers have included Elaine S. Dalton, Paul Cardall and Janice Kapp Perry. This year the speaker will be Adam Abel, the producer of “Saints and Soldiers”, “Freetown”, “The Saratov Approach”, and the original producer of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. The fireside will be Sunday, September 6 at the Temple Point Chapel in South Jordan.
The race continues to become popular and for good reason. Above all it exemplifies an important lesson. “It’s more than just exercise. It is a meaning of wanting to get your family to the temple. And wanting your children to know the temple is an important place for them … ” McPheeters said.
From babies to an 80 year old, the race has seen it all. Whether you choose to walk or to run, the race is for you. It doesn’t require being physically fit, just simple, a love for the temple.