- J.C. Kelly
- Submitted Photo: Christ Fit Gym
December 6th, marks Christ Fit Gym’s 8th annual 100 Mile Crosswalk. On Friday morning, dozens of participants will step off from Christ Fit Gym in North Bossier, and embark on what truly is an epic journey. While most may not think much of driving 100 miles in a vehicle (the approximate distance from Shreveport to Monroe), there is a stark difference in between driving and walking. One man has participated in all seven cross walks, and he is as tough as they come.
Billy Weatherall is something of a local celebrity. A graduate of Airline High School, a decorated US Army Drill Sergeant and combat veteran, and an ordained minister, it is nearly impossible to find someone who does not know of Weatherall. A man of a humble upbringing, Weatherall’s life has truly been transformed, and his remarkable story has inspired thousands. As the founder of Christ Fit Gym, Weatherall has completed an uncountable number of exhausting workouts, and has competed in countless other grueling athletic events over the past decade. Despite his extensive experiences with physically and mentally pushing himself beyond most people’s breaking point, one grueling event consistently stays in his thoughts; Christ Fit Gym’s annual cross walk.
The primary reason why CFG was founded, was to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through the means of physical fitness. That mantra can be found on nearly everything with a CFG logo. 1 Timothy 4:8 – “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better…” While CFG members participate in dozens of events throughout the year, none are more powerful, none impact more people than the annual crosswalk, and none are more difficult. Imagine being awake for nearly 40 hours, continuously walking on asphalt, over varying inclines and declines, all while intermittently carrying a heavy wooden cross. Most do not want to spend a few minutes outside on a cold, rainy day. But dozens voluntarily spend hours in the winter elements, if not close to the amount of time the average American logs in their work week.
But why do so many people do it? Why do they push through the pain and fatigue? Weatherall says, “It’s all about the cross. It means everything to me.” And this man walks the walk, just as well as he talks the talk. You will not see many CEOs walking down rural backroads and major urban highway alike, much less carrying a large wooden cross while doing so. Yet Weatherall has carried it for seven years now. He cannot be seen without the cross prominently displayed somewhere on or near him. From his pickup truck, to his clothing, to his flesh. Weatherall has faithfully served his country during multiple active duty military deployments. And now he serves his local community by actively ministering to dozens of people each day. And he does it with a servant’s heart.
A Christian can be defined as anyone who believes that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, who’s coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. But more devout Christians strive to live out their lives the way Jesus commanded. By loving God and loving people. Carrying the cross for 100 miles elevates it to a position where hundreds of passersbys get to see it in person, and thousands more get to view it online. While Weatherall’s current life may distinctly contrast his former one, he relentlessly races down his current path with all of the vigor of a well-trained, young soldier. But instead of dragging fellow soldiers off of the battlefield, his daily mission is much more difficult. It is to help plunder Hell and populate Heaven with souls.
One word continues to come to mind during any amount of time spent with Weatherall, and that word is endurance. Endurance can be defined as: the power of suffer through an unpleasant or difficult process or situation, without giving up. Weatherall exercises a great amount of endurance every single day. But he somehow digs incredibly deep, and summons supernatural endurance that helps to fuel him during these exhausting 100 mile marches.
Last year, eight incredibly tough individuals completed the entire 100 mile journey. Some could barely walk for a week afterward. But each one emphatically said all the pain and suffering was worth every step. They were frequently in prayer, and almost always in fellowship, but one thing remained constant. That old wooden cross. The cross is a constant reminder of God’s love for us, through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. And that is precisely why Weatherall and countless others will embark on a long, grueling journey on Friday Morning.
The 100 Mile Cross Walk will begin at Christ Fit Gym on Friday morning, travel through Benton, rural Bossier and Webster Parishes, before turning around in Minden and retracing the route back to CFG.
All are encouraged to join in the walk for any distance, as well as donate or sponsor participants.
You can follow live updates on the 100 Mile Crosswalk, on the Christ Fit Gym Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristFitGym/