To bring awareness to adoption and foster care, a pastor from Missouri ran 153 marathons in a row, unofficially breaking a world record.
Malachi O'Brien and his wife have four biological children and two adopted children that they fostered to start. O'Brien understands the importance of family surrounding the vulnerable as he was adopted by his aunt and uncle when he was just three years old.
For five months straight, rain, snow, or shine, O'Brien committed to running a marathon each day. The pastor is also a social media influencer and he knew that sometimes to bring attention to something important, people have to do something 'crazy.'
"The hardest mile was always the first mile," O'Brien said in an interview. "I never thought about the next day’s marathon while I was doing that day’s marathon."
In the middle of all the running, O'Brien says his wife, Rachel has been the real hero as she cares for the house and kids.
The couple recently officially added to their family, completing the adoption of their newest son, one-year-old Jaxton.
🎉 JAXTON SAMUEL O’BRIEN (JJ) HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN ADOPTED— DrMalachi.eth - (Dr. Run) - Marathon Every Day (@malachiobrien) January 24, 2024
-Going before the Judge and promising to take care of and support this child like our biological children was a moving experience. 😭
Those who adopt and those who foster ARE heroes. So are all the caseworkers! pic.twitter.com/D7vMYGDrcy
O'Brien took a few months off after running 153 marathons in a row. However, he's now committing to an even bigger goal of running half-marathons every day for 1,900 days, or just over five years.
"Me choosing to run every day is not hard. Challenging, you bet. Inconvenient, probably. But hard? No, not my definition," said O'Brien in another interview. "Everyone needs to choose their hard and choose that every day."
There are almost 400,000 children in the U.S.A in the foster care system, roughly 50,000 in Canada, and O'Brien believes the Church has a big role to play.
"I don't think you can subcontract things that God has made very clear the Church should tangibly do. I think when the Church cares for the fatherless, orphans, and the widows it is something that...means a lot to the Father."