Author Lance Svendsen’s new book on running, life, and hope. Bottom line: a must read.
Lance Svendsen is so many things, a father, a pastor, a runner, and a writer to capture it all.
Always having an interest in people, Lance sought opportunities to help everyone he met. Lance’s interest in people allowed him to easily transition into youth ministry after college, where he felt a strong purpose in helping young adults navigate life and their faith. Lance felt particularly called to preaching within youth ministry, despite it personally being nerve wracking to do so. The belief that Lance’s own discomfort helped others feel more comfortable and grow in their faith carried him through.
Lance took this principle and strived to apply it in other areas of his life. Having an interest in running, Lance saw the opportunity to run in order to raise money for his cousins, who had recently lost their father, Lance’s uncle, due to cancer. Lance was determined to run in the New York City marathon, a worthy feat, and had just one month to prepare. In 2012, however, the marathon was cancelled for the first time ever due to Hurricane Sandy. Despite the race being cancelled, Lance wanted to fulfill his promise of running for the cause and, when Lance reached out to others who were going to participate in the race, he uncovered a whole running community that related to his strong desire to follow through on a promise. In just 35 hours, Lance organized a race that was attended by over 3,000 people as a substitution for the missed marathon. At the starting line, Lance realized just how much racing meant to so many of those runners- an opportunity to show up for the individual causes they believed in.
This was enough to motivate Lance to help organize and participate in many other races, such as 500 for the Fallen, a 500-mile continuous relay leaving from Concord, MA and arriving at Arlington Cemetery to raise awareness for children who have lost a parent while serving in the military. Lance also participated in the 2013 Boston Marathon, where he finished the race just 10 minutes before the terrifying terrorist bombing occurred in downtown Boston. It’s easy to say that Lance’s running experiences have shaped his perspective around life, faith, and personal sacrifice.
Lance continued using his gift for running and true grit in Guatemala, where he volunteered for an organization called Hope of Life. With Hope of Life, Lance would go on foot into specific Guatemalan villages, that could not be accessed via car, to bring sick children to locations with proper medical care. Although at the time the guide that runs this program would not normally allow non-natives on these dangerous trips, Lance had just completed a 50 mile race, which he used as leverage when convincing the guide of his willingness and ability. It’s as if all of the pieces leading up to this moment fell right into place.
Lance just recently released his first book called Run Anyway, documenting this incredible journey from makeshift marathon to perilous trek through the mountains of Guatemala. The book documents this series of events from a first person perspective, much of the book being inspired by intimate excerpts from the personal journals that he kept throughout his life. These journals formed the building blocks for the book, which expertly knits together both significant national and personal events to take the reader on an incredible journey.
During our interview, when I asked Lance about one thing he learned throughout the book writing process, he mentions that he’s glad he didn’t wait longer to start writing. When Lance first began, he didn’t know how his book would end, but he knew that he had a story to tell.
It’s a story about the recalibration periods in Lance’s life. Chances for Lance to self reflect and to ensure that he is always on the right trail, going the right way.
It’s about someone who stepped out of their comfort zone and then stepped out again.
It’s about adventure, catastrophe, faith, and hope.
It’s about life.
Give it a read.
Get the book here!