THE VIA DOLOROSA EXPERIENCE:
Ed Burnett, Half-Marathon Finisher
March 28th , 2018
It was the fall of 2017 and I had recently returned to running following a year-long recovery from a torn
plantar fascia injury. My good friend Rich approached me about an idea he had to organize a marathon.
He called me because he wanted to encourage me to run the race, and also because he was looking for
sponsors to support the effort. At that time I offered that I would support with some form of
sponsorship, but I was in no way ready to commit to another distance race – especially on a Wisconsin
trail, in March, near Holy Hill!
In the weeks following his call, I felt the Holy Spirit beginning to work on me! Quietly, I began to
consider the possibility of running another marathon. My weekly runs were increasing in frequency and
duration, and I felt that I needed to trust in Him – I prayed, “Jesus, if you can get me to the starting line
healthy enough to begin the race, then I know you’ll be there to carry me through to the finish.” It
would be through His Divine Mercy alone that I would hope to accomplish this goal!
In years past, I had always been afraid of trails because I’ve had a history of bad ankle sprains, but again,
by placing my trust in Him, I finished a 5k run on the UW Parkside course without incident. Through the
cold Wisconsin winter months I tried to make about half of my training runs off-road. Many laps – at
Parkside – in the dark early hours of morning – some solo and some with company – trusting in Jesus
with every step! Many of our runs on snow covered trails were very cold…but amazingly glorious at the
same time. We would begin and end each run in prayer, giving thanks for so many blessings in our lives,
and offering up our exertions for those who needed our prayers.
The training miles piled on, and unfortunately some of my plantar injury pains returned, along with a
nagging blister on my left arch! Following a 19-mile training run, and a few weeks of prayerful
consideration, I reluctantly decided to adjust my goal to the half-marathon. Those of you who are
runners will understand the internal torment that I suffered by lowering my goal, but in time I accepted
As it all turns out, Jesus DID get me to the starting healthy enough to begin, and by HIS grace I finished
the half! Actually, I ran almost 14 miles due to an unknown and unintentional course deviation. At
about mile 10, I realized (with about 4 other runners) that we were no longer on the race course trail!
So we back tracked, found our missed turn, and got back on the correct trail. What’s an extra mile
between friends, right?!? In the last mile of my race, I experienced terrible calf cramping, and my quads
were also quite cramped up for the last ¾ miles of hills! My three beautiful children finished the race
with me and my bride and some additional family members were there to embrace me at the finish.
Today is the fourth day following the race, and I can finally walk again without pain – praise God! I
learned a lot from this experience and I can’t wait for another opportunity for Via Dolorosa!
The Schaeffer Financial Group, LLC