KANSAS CITY — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki finished the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 15 in four hours, eight minutes and 39 seconds. It was his 18th marathon and he finished 13 minutes and 8 seconds better than his 2010 time at the Denver Marathon.
Bishop Paprocki was invited and ran with the Life Runners group of 170 individuals (including 22 youth) from 20 states and Turkey and he ran for charitable causes. As a group the LIFE Runners raised over $35,000 for specific pro-life causes.
Wearing a LIFE Runners T-shirt and bib number 972, Bishop Paprocki placed 531st out of 1,554 runners. He was ninth out of 32 in his division and 396th out of 842 in his gender. "I ran with the Life Runners ... and prayed for pro-life causes," said Bishop Paprocki in an e-mail to employees at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Springfield.
Locally, about $3,700 was donated for respect life efforts in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, primarily scholarships for young people to participate in the March for Life next January in Washington, D.C. Another $12,500 was donated for the Chicago Legal Clinic which provides legal services for the poor, Bishop Paprocki noted.
Bishop Paprocki spoke at the pre-race banquet, blessed the team just before the race, and prayed the rosary with the team at the Overland Park abortion mill after the race. While at the abortion mill, the group was watched over by four police officers and security cameras, said Air Force Lt. Col. Pat Castle, one of the co-founders of the LIFE Runners.
"Bishop Paprocki's pre-race banquet talk was titled 'Running with Saints and Angels' — it was an incredible message," said Castle. "He donated his Houston Thomas More Society honorarium ($1,000) to the LIFE Runners causes — the Sioux Falls Alpha Center and Kansas City Wyandotte baby buses — and matched it $1,000 himself.
"It's funny," said Castle. "Before Bishop Paprocki and I met, we had done three of the exact same marathons: 2007 Marine Corps, 2008 Chicago, 2009 Twin Cities and now the 2011 Kansas City. My brother Steve Castle, who is the business manager for Our Lady of Victory Parish in Fergus Falls, Minn., finished the race with Bishop Paprocki. He said it was the highlight of his marathon career."
Next year, the LIFE Runners will be running the Oct. 21 St. Louis half/full Marathon with the theme "Gateway to LIFE."
"Our goal is to have 262 LIFE Runners and raise over $50,000 for the St. Louis Thrive baby bus, St. Louis Good Shepherd (which provides post birth family support) and the Sioux Falls Alpha Center baby bus," said Castle.