(RNS) Faith is the “most important aspect” of Allyson Felix’s life and the reason she runs.
That’s the testimony the six-time Olympic medalist wrote for Beyond the Ultimate, Cru’s sports ministry.
And she repeated it to the Los Angeles Times ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Felix finished second in the 400-meter after Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas, who took a dive across the finish line. That silver medal — her seventh total — makes her the most decorated woman in U.S. track and field history, passing Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
She still could race Saturday (Aug. 20) in 4×400 relay.
Growing up, Felix’s dad was a seminary professor, her family was very involved in their church and she became a Christian at a young age. It wasn’t until she tried out for track as a freshman at Los Angeles Baptist High School that she discovered her talent for running, according to Christianity Today.
Now at 30, running has become a “platform so that I can share my faith with the world.”
God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. -Eric Liddell pic.twitter.com/E6VDifQzUX
— Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) August 7, 2016
She wrote for Beyond the Ultimate:
“My running is an amazing gift from God and I want to use it to the best of my ability to glorify Him. You have to have this passion and you have to have a reason for doing what you’re doing. And there really has to be a purpose there, I think that’s what drives success. I know my talent is from God. And that’s my purpose: to run to glorify Him.”
For all the Olympic medals and world records, Felix’s goal still is the same: “to be more Christ-like each and every day.” She still goes to church each Sunday and listens to sermons when she is on the road competing.
But while faith is important to her, it doesn’t necessarily make what she does any easier. She missed qualifying for her favorite event, the 200-meter, after she tore ligaments in her ankle in late April.
“I think a lot of times you want faith to kind of be the answer to everything, and it’s still a struggle to get there, you know?” she told the Los Angeles Times.
“There are very real moments that are hard, but I think that it helps me to be able to learn the lesson that there is a purpose, a reason why maybe that happened, and it can create something in you and it might be preparing you for something better in the future.”