Marj Kilcup


There is a fun running quote that says, “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.” This quote always made me smile and feel a little better about my running. I don’t run like a gazelle (more like a turtle), but I run…and I do love it. I started running when I was a teenager. I first started running as a way to escape, think and process.

I was adopted into a home in Ontario, Canada as a 5-month-old baby. I have three siblings who are adopted as well. We were all classified as special needs kids and so our household had some unique challenges – whose house doesn’t? My “special need” was that I was born with clubfeet. My tiny feet were twisted out of shape. However, by the time I was placed into my forever home, I was already going through the medical process that would ultimately allow me to run. My other siblings had more severe illnesses/struggles. My little brother (adopted after me) was born with a liver disease called Alpha-1-antitrypsin-deficiency. The doctors told my folks that he would die before he turned 5, so they advised against taking him. My parents loved the Lord and trusted that He would work all this out and so took him home and loved him. We had parents who loved us, but medical and emotional struggles are a reality for so many families, so running helped me so much.

I kept running as an adult and then roped a dear friend into running with me. I asked her if she would run a marathon with me and she readily agreed. After she said “yes” was when I told her it would be 26 miles!! She is still my friend, thankfully!

Not long after our second marathon together, my brother with the liver disease (who miraculously made it into his 30s) was really ill with his disease. The doctors put him on the liver transplant list, but told him to start looking for a living liver donor. By the grace of God, my liver was perfect for him, even though we aren’t biological siblings. They took the right lobe of my liver and gave it to my brother. My running had helped get me in the shape I needed to be in to be a good candidate for the surgery. Having a new liver essentially cured his disease and he is still doing well 10 years later.

I slowly started running again after the surgery and am able to continue running. I run in thankfulness for answered prayers, for straightened feet and for a healthy brother.

God can take our hard things and make them beautiful. We all have our stories, and this is a little of mine. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11