Chicago nun Sister Stephanie Baliga went on the run to participate in a socially distant marathon to raise money for a local food pantry. Baliga did not have to go far from the convent as she ran up some impressive fundraising numbers by completing a marathon on a treadmill.
She says she got the idea when people started speculating that the Chicago marathon might be cancelled because of the coronavirus. The event served as a fundraiser for the food pantry at the Mission of our Lady of the Angels.
“And so I was promising, 'If they cancel the race ... I will run a marathon on that treadmill.' So I kind of had made this kind of grandiose statement with the anticipation that they were not going to cancel the race. So, then all of a sudden I was kind of stuck with this statement and I figured, 'Why not?'” she told Inside Edition Digital.
She said the power went out in the convent three times on her run but luckily she did not fall off the treadmill and was able to finish her race. But she had a fan section cheering her on as spectators watched on Zoom.
“So it was kind of like having a custom cheer section, which is so cool with all people I knew instead of just random people. So that was exciting. And it was definitely my favorite marathon I've ever run because of just the people that were present with me,” she said.
By the time she crossed the virtual finish line, Sister Stephanie had raised over $100,000 for her mission’s food pantry and renovation projects.
She also set a world record for being the first woman to complete a marathon on a treadmill, pending approval from Guinness World Records.
“So obviously the world has been crazy. So I really hope that this brings a little bit of joy and a little bit of love to people. Hopefully it brings a little smile to people's face during this really insane time,” she added.