Pastor Justin Williams + Pastor David Hoffman
Pastor Justin Williams, Senior Pastor at the Powell United Methodist Church in Powell, Ohio, and Pastor David Hoffman, Senior Pastor at the Stonybrook United Methodist Church in Gahanna, Ohio, are running together in this year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon as Children Champions.
Pastor Williams writes, “This year, I am running the Columbus Marathon for the very first time. I have considered it several times before, but as a pastor, I had reservations about running a race on a Sunday morning. However, I have decided to run the Marathon this year in memory of a remarkable individual named Willie Schnetzler. In October of 2021, I had the privilege of officiating Willie’s funeral. Her obituary shared, ‘This tiny 10-year-old warrior stood strong and resilient during her 18-month battle against brain cancer. The darkest days of this horrible disease did not dull her shining light. Her smile, her strength, her sass, and her wonderful spirit were ever-present. She became beloved by each person she encountered.’ Willie’s story served as an inspiration to me and countless others. In her memory, I have chosen to dedicate all the funds raised to support children facing the challenges of brain cancer.”
Pastor Williams continues, “You may already be aware that I have been running every day since December 31, 2016. Running brings me joy, and participating in this Marathon allows me to harness my passion for a greater purpose--raising funds for a cause that truly matters, in honor of an extraordinary young girl.”
Pastor Hoffman is running and fundraising in honor and celebration of the care that his family has received at Columbus Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Pastor Hoffman’s twenty-two-year-old twins, Alyson and Andrea, are living with cystic fibrosis and are patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This will be Pastor Hoffman’s fourth Columbus Marathon, and he was privileged to run the Columbus ½ Marathon with his daughters in the past. The twins themselves have completed four ½ marathons, and their health is excellent due to the excellent care they have received at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
I started to run the Columbus 1/2 Marathon in 2015. This was always a goal of my since high school track just took awhile to get back into running. Fast forward to 2021 when our second child our beautiful daughter was born she was healthy and happy. But at 2 months of age she was admitted to Children’s for 2 weeks due to a very bad case of RSV.
Going to the hospital each and every day looking out of her room’s window just kept bringing back to all times I past the hospital during those half’s and just always thinking Columbus is so blessed to have a wonderful hospital. Now being a parent when I see Children’s I’m so happy to have something so amazing close to home but prayer we never have visit again.
After a 2 week stay and getting back to life, I signed up for the 2022 race but with a new goal in mind the full. This was a very scary thing to think about but I wanted to do it for our baby girl Adaline. During the whole race I kept telling myself if Adaline can fight for 2 weeks I can run 26.2 miles.
Reaching the hospital that year during the race just meant something more this time around. And the tears that came during that mile brought back all those memories from her stay. When I think about her stay it’s the staff I enjoy thinking about everyone from the ER to housekeeping staff was wonderful.
When people think I’m crazy for running 26.2 miles I just smile and say it’s for my Adaline, if she can fight I can run.