The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Grabosky runs for prayers

Megan Doyle | Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jeff Grabosky took a pitstop at campus this weekend as he continues a cross-country run with only basic essentials in a baby jogger and a rosary.

“From an athletic perspective, I have run marathons and a couple hundred-milers, so this seemed like the big next step,” he said. “I coupled that with my personal life where prayer is really important.”

While faith always played a large role in his family, Grabosky, a 2005 Notre Dame graduate, said he felt the power of prayer most during a difficult period of his life in 2006.

“My mom passed away, and my wife walked out on me. I was left with everything I had in my car for a couple months,” he said. “Prayer is all I had.”

During his break on campus, friends hosted a prayer service with Grabosky at the Grotto Saturday, and he addressed runners at the Holy Half Marathon Sunday. Notre Dame played a large role in his spiritual development, Grabosky said.

“Growing up, I didn’t really have any points where my faith was tested. I think [Notre Dame] was a way with daily Masses and the great friends and support I had, with the spiritual aspects of campus and having priests all around, to lay my base and solid foundation,” he said. “So later when the storm hit, God was my rock. I was able to go through whatever was being thrown my way.”

Grabosky began his journey Jan. 20 in Oceanside, Ca., and he plans to complete the run mid-May in Long Island, N.Y., after running roughly 3,700 miles on back roads and highway shoulders.

“There is no place I would rather be than the path God has laid out for me, and that’s where I feel I am,” he said. “It just shows that God can do amazing things out of terrible circumstances … I’m trying to promote people making time in their daily lives for God.”

Grabosky quit his job at a running store in Washington, D.C., in order to train and plan his run across America.

“It was kind of a logistical nightmare to train for it and properly plan for it,” he said.

Grabosky runs with 70 to 80 pounds of supplies for his trip in the baby jogger. A support team or fellow runners do not travel with him, so he carries a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, medical supplies, food and water.

“I run as much as 60 miles in a day,” he said. “I think I would go crazy if I didn’t have something to keep me occupied like prayer … I don’t listen to music or an iPod so that prayer really fills that void.”

Grabosky said he mapped his route so he could visit friends and family on his short stops throughout the country, but he also met people throughout his journey who supported him.

“The people I have met really have been the biggest thing for me,” he said. “We look at the media and the news, and basically we can believe terrible people are everywhere out there. But I met so many supportive people, … people who did not have much but wanted to share with me the little they did have. It really makes me want to be a better person.”

Throughout the journey, Grabosky said he receives prayer requests from across the country and prays decades of the rosary for each request.

“As far as getting through it, I compare this to daily life struggles that people deal with, whether they are financial problems or marital problems or health related,” he said. “They get up and battle anyway. That is my motivation to get through my struggles every day.”

Grabosky said he begins each day with a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and follows with personal petitions and the prayer intentions he receives through his website.

“I’m just asking people for intentions, not money,” he said. “I still have a long way to go, and I can never have too many requests.”

Petition requests can be submitted on www.jeffrunsamerica.com and through the run’s Facebook page.

“I’m hoping that this shows to others that anything is possible when God is involved,” he said. “That will make me feel like this run is a success.”