Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia | Daniela Arrieta/IAD News Staff

More than 400 Seventh-day Adventists and friends recently ran across parts of the coastal city of Santa Marta in North Colombia, during the annual race to promote healthy living under the church’s “Let’s Move to Live” and “I Want to Live Healthy” initiatives.

Adventist delegations and friends from cities across the coastal region gathered early on Sunday, Oct. 6, to do warm up exercises, promote health and invited onlookers to join the six-kilometer race. This is the third event  by the church in the Colombia Atlantic conference region.

“Our objective here was to promote a healthy lifestyle with a sporting event and create an interest in sports for children, youth and adults,” said Joel Revollo, director of health ministries for the Atlantic Coast Conference and main organizer of the event. “We wanted to allow for a family day with different church delegations and their friends across the Atlantic conference.”

Coined as “Ocean Olympics”, the race was also an opportunity to share the love of God through books on health and hope, and the distribution of hundreds of magazines on breast cancer prevention.

Awards were distributed for winners in the children, youth, adults, senior and recreation categories.

Kevin Pájaro, one of the winners in the youth category, was among the group of 40 who were invited by church members to take part in the race. It was the first time that Pájaro joined a church activity.

“What a great idea to motivate everyone to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Pájaro. “This was so well organized.”

Revollo said it was important to get as many involved from outside the church in the event. “They are our friends and it is the field that Jesus has left for us to show the hope of salvation.”

Among those taking part in the race were three persons with special needs who completed the 6K race in their wheel chair, said Revollo. “We were so delighted to have them join us.” It was not only about encouraging them to finish the race but also to allow for inclusion of people with physical challenges, explained Revollo.

Church leaders thanked sponsors and government agencies for providing security during the race.

Pastor Mauricio Buitrago, director of health ministries for the church in North Colombia, congratulated church leaders in the Atlantic conference region for their annual event promoting the Adventist world church’s Let’s Move to Live.

“The more than 21 million of Seventh-day Adventists around the world are working in favor of moving to live,” said Buitrago.

For now the church in the Atlantic coast will continue promoting a healthy lifestyle to its members and friends through activities to improve eating habits, physical exercise, favorable environmental aspects and many other aspects that involve health in a wholistic way, Revollo said.

This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website