ASHLAND, Ky. – Tim Burton doesn’t mind following in little footsteps.
The 59-year-old Burton has found his inspiration to run his first half marathon in 8-year-old Jarek Compston, who accomplished the feat the first time as a 6-year-old while representing Amy For Africa in the Marshall Half Marathon.
“God has His hand on Jarek in a special way,” Burton said. “His demeanor has the spirit of God all over it.”
Jarek, the son of AFA missionaries Chris and Amy Compston, used his feet to raise money for the organization. He raised enough to send Christmas gifts to Uganda and also provide a meal for 400. His time in the half marathon was one of the best on record for that age level.
Burton plans on putting his feet to the pavement for AFA, too.
“It excited me so much when Jarek was sharing with our RA’s at Oakland Avenue (Baptist Church) a few months ago,” Burton said. “He shared with our group how he went to Uganda and all about the mission. Amy followed up with the book (Jarek’s Journey, a children’s book about him running the half marathon for Ugandan children).”
Burton said he told his RA’s that Jarek had inspired him to do something he’d never done before – run a half marathon.
He will try it for the first time on Thanksgiving morning in Atlanta along with 10,000 other runners. Burton has been preparing for the 13.1-mile race for months. The goal: “I just want to finish.”
The plan is to run the race well and bring attention to the Amy For Africa mission along the way. He will be wearing AFA’s colors and between now and the time he leaves, Burton is asking family members and friends to join him in purchasing bags of cement for $10 to help build the AFA Christian Academy.
He has committed to a bag of cement per mile – 13 in all for him – and hopes others will get behind him and AFA with at least another 50 bags of cement at $10 per bag.
Burton has been following AFA since its inception in 2013. He was at a men’s breakfast at Wolf Creek Baptist Church during the first summer of AFA.
“When you make yourself the point of notice, it’s tough,” he said. “She does it so well because she’s always bringing attention to God. It is never about her, never has been. When I feel that pressure of being noticed, I start to squirm.”
You can donate to AFA by going to amyforafrica.com/donate and put Burton in the message line.