Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Veteran marathon runner gives tips on overcoming life’s ‘walls’

New memoir says life takes body, mind and spirit to prevail

After completing 48 marathons, 44 of them after doctors told him he’d never run again, Army veteran and chaplain Arthur Coffey knows a thing or two about what it takes to overcome challenges.

Coffey is no stranger to struggle: He’s faced a near-death accident, a broken family, the heartbreaking loss of jobs and a home, a stark medical and mental prognosis and deep depression. He’d hit “walls” in life similar to those faced in a 26.1-mile competition. Then one day, he realized he wasn't truly focused on what it would take to succeed.

Coffey recounts his story in his new book Running for Recovery, a memoir on how to succeed in both literal and figurative marathons of life.

“I’m a ‘wounded healer,’” Coffey said. “I’ve faced and overcame hardships that have made me able to help others who are struggling. Life’s marathons take all of you to overcome – body, mind and spirit.”

Coffey believes the body, mind and spirit are all important elements in facing the challenges of life.

Chapter One, the Body Marathon, introduces a body-mind-spirit "transfer of traininng dynamic." To understand that dynamic. Coffey suggests you ask the following questions: What can I learn from a physical run or challenge that will help me with a mental run or challenge, and vice versa? What can I learn from a spiritual run or challenge that will help me with both a physical and a mental challenge? And, what can i learn from a physical and mental run or challenge that would become a living parable, a reflection of what I'm learning on the spiritual level of life?

This same approach is found in the rest of the book as you read in Chapter Two about the Mind Marathon and in Chapter Three about the Spirit Marathon.

In 1992 on Easter Monday, Coffey ran the Boston Marathon.  It itself this might not have been a great achievement, except that six years earlier he had been involved in an accident while riding his motorcyle that left his body, mind and spirit broken.

By turning to the scriptures and building his spirit first he was able to come back from the physical and mental ruin of his body.

“In my deepest despair, God showed me the way,” said Coffey. “He reversed these and other impossible life conditions, and his Word keeps me moving every day!”

The book, Running for Recovery, recounts his journey back to phsical, mental and spiritual health.

'Running for Recovery: Marathons of the Body, Mind, Spirit'
By: Arthur Coffey
ISBN 978-1-4497-7559-9
Retail price: $27.99
About the author 
Arthur Coffey has a doctorate in holistic healthcare and has been recognized by the by the Armed Forces Chief of Chaplains, National Bible Association, the VA National Headquarters and the Mayo Clinic for his work in using Bible scriptures in creative and medicinal ways. Coffey has completed research on Alzheimer’s disease using scripture as the independent variable. He was featured at the 2000 Mayo Clinic Spiritual Care Research Conference as an outstanding presenter. He is currently retired.

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