Chris Reilly, a 2009 graduate of ENC, placed 1st out of 156 runners in the Temple, N.H., Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5K on January 1, 2013. He finished the 3.1-mile race with a time of 18:09.

Reilly majored in physical education at ENC and was captain of the cross-country team. Since graduating, he has continued his running habits by participating in numerous 5Ks and marathons.

In 2010, he ran in the Boston Marathon. Halfway through the race, he began noticing a pain in his knee; by mile 17, the pain had escalated intensely. He pushed through the pain, though, and somehow managed to finish the race.

Reilly says that a Bible verse gave him the strength to complete the marathon despite his injury.

“I was thinking about Isaiah 40:30-31. ‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ ”

It is evident that, for Reilly, running and faith are inextricably intertwined. Each morning, he has a cup of coffee and reads the Bible. Afterward, at 5:30 a.m., he goes for his daily run. Running helps him in his walk — or rather his run — with God.

“During a run, the temptation is to slow down or stop,” he said. “I cannot run or live without Christ in me. He uses running to teach me that I need Him in my life.”

Reilly also regularly runs a local marathon in Keene, N.H., where he lives. This is his favorite race to compete in.

“My church is located at the 17th mile and my church family is always out to cheer me on.” Reilly placed 10th out of 176 runners in this race.

Reilly recalls fond memories of running cross-country at ENC, such as the annual tradition to jump in a nearby pond after the race at Elms College.

“We call it the Rambo swim,” he says. “Rambo is my nickname around ENC. Every September I go to this race and get to know new cross-country runners.”

Reilly has simple advice for ENC students: Look for what God wants to teach you through your talents and interests. Focus on each moment and build friendships.

He also shared the verse that keeps him running relentlessly in life and toward God: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24.