Franciscan University priest will run 50-mile, ultra-marathon

Franciscan University priest will run 50-mile, ultra-marathon

A priest from Franciscan University is raising money for his students in a unique way.

Fr. Gregory Plow is in training to run a 50-mile, ultra-marathon to raise money for his students.

After entering the seminary and spending most of his days studying and in prayer, Fr. Gregory felt his life was becoming extremely sedentary. That was why he began running.

"I just bought a pair of running shoes,” he said. “Since I am a Franciscan, we have a vow of poverty so I can't but a lot of equipment for a sport. Shoes are easy; you just get out and start running."

But he used this new hobby to serve a greater need -- to raise scholarship money for students at Franciscan University.

He’ll run the Burning River Marathon on July 29. The money he raises will go to the Spirit of St. Francis Scholarship, which helps the school’s neediest students.

So far, two students have received this scholarship, neither of whom could not originally afford to attend college at all, let alone a private, catholic university like Franciscan. This year, Fr. Gregory and his team are hoping to raise money for a student who will be starting classes this fall.

"So it’s not just me running,” he said. “There is a whole other Franciscan University men’s cross country, alumni, and coaches who will be running with me."

And although the goal is to raise money, Fr. Gregory’s favorite part is the peace he finds while on the running trail.

“For me as a priest, I pray while I am running,” he said. “Of course I pray in the chapel too, but it’s an opportunity for me to encounter God, especially in nature because a lot of my runs are on trails, and just to be out in God's creation and run and appreciate all of the gifts He has given in the world and my ability to run."

Preparing to run 50 miles is not something you can train for overnight, but heading down the home stretch, Fr. Gregory explains how he is finishing up his training.

"Now I am about a month out, and I am in my taper period where I reduce the number of miles I run,” he said. “It’s kind of like those cars you used to have when you were a kid and you would hold the wheels and let them go. That is what happens in the taper period that I am doing."

Having run in multiple marathons, including one 50 ultra-marathon, Fr. Gregory is ready to hit the trail.

You can support Greg's cause by donating to the Spirit of St. Francis Scholarship at

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