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Ohio

Powell pastor shares motivation behind Columbus Marathon run

“Willie was an incredible inspiration,” Justin Williams, a runner and pastor of Powell United Methodist Church, said.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the 43rd Nationwide Children’s Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon returned to downtown Columbus on Sunday, many runners and walkers shared their motivations for running.

Justin Williams, a runner and pastor of Powell United Methodist Church, said he was inspired by Wilhelmina “Willie” Schnetzler.

“Willie was an incredible inspiration,” he said.

Willie was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer in 2020. She lost her battle after 18 months, at 10 years old.

Her pastor, Williams, ran the 26.2-mile marathon in her honor.

“I actually put Willie’s picture as my screen on my phone so I could just see that [smile].

Willie’s family, including her mom, Tara Schnetzler, cheered Williams on along the “Angel Mile,” or mile 11, in honor of the children who died at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

“There’s been so many tears shed over the past few years with her journey and her death, and just to see so much joy captured in that single moment makes your heart just swell,” Schnetzler said.

A few years after Willie’s death, she said the joy comes from knowing that Willie’s legacy will live on.

“It’s just more peace knowing that your child is not here on earth but is still working her magic, doing wonderful things and inspiring so many others,” she said.

Once Williams crossed the finish line, he said he was reminded of how Willie finished her race.

“She had great joy, determination, perseverance up to the end, and that certainly was an inspiration today,” he said.

Williams set a goal to raise $2,620, or $100 for each mile of the race. With the help of members at Powell United Methodist Church, he raised $11,238.


https://www.10tv.com/article/news/local/powell-pastor-participates-in-columbus-marathon-run/530-0c45fcfa-1cd8-461a-92db-e194479518a6 Powell pastor shares motivation behind Columbus Marathon run

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