Share this story

 | By Brittany DeHaan

Mother of Nine Runs Marathon and Fulfills Promise

October 18, 2023 | Early mornings, prayer, and support helped Nicole Bubolz reach the finish line.

Nicole Bubolz is the Accounting Manager of the parishes and schools for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Not only is she a recent Chicago Marathon runner, but the mother of nine including three sets of twins! In her running journey, she has discovered that not only does her faith aid her in the sport but running helps to strengthen her faith.

Fourteen years ago, Bubolz and her then eight-year-old son were watching a friend run in the Chicago Marathon when she made him a promise that she too would run in that race one day. She originally began walking, and subsequently running to lose weight after her many pregnancies but has since become a fan of the sport.

Bubolz is passionate about her faith and that was a crucial element to her successful completion of the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023.

“For this race in particular, my faith really came into play the days ahead of the event,” said Bubolz.

“The excitement was building. I was beginning to feel a lot of pressure to ‘perform’ so I went to Mass by myself the night before the race in Chicago. During Mass they asked all runners to come to the front and they gave us a blessing. As I walked out of the church, I felt such a sense of peace and realized all my pre-race jitters were gone. I sent a message to my family and told them I knew God had me in his arms.”

Several years prior to running this marathon, she had intended to run in a similar race in the Chicago area but was unable to participate as she had just relocated to Florida. She ran a race in Orlando, but still wanted to run in the Chicago Marathon one day. This race also presented an obstacle to Bubolz. In 2020 she was set to participate, but the pandemic caused it to become virtual. This year she felt ready and decided to sign up once again.

Bubolz takes training for races seriously. On Fridays. she would wake up at 3:15 a.m. to have half a cup of coffee and work on her long-distance training. When it was difficult to get up early, she often had to remind herself of the upcoming race and that these long runs would allow her to reach her fullest potential for the race.

Her faith is incorporated into every aspect of her running routine, especially when she covers many miles in training. Running allows her to strengthen her own prayer life and combine something that she loves with God whom she loves.

“My faith has been a part of my running routine for years. When I run by myself, it's just time for God and me to talk. It's my time to pray to Him for each of my children and grandchildren. When you are out there for hours, you can cover a lot of people! A recipe for a perfect morning for me, is a cup of coffee and a run with my God!” said Bubolz.

While she enjoys running, she also knows just how difficult it can be. She had to rely on her faith to help her through the more difficult portions of the race.

“I knew I couldn't have done it without God. When I was out on the course, I just prayed away a lot of the aches and pains that come with running for 26 miles! There were a few moments in the race when I envisioned God carrying me to the next mile marker,” Bubolz explained.

Not only are her runs a chance for her to have some alone time in prayer, but her training and running with different groups of friends gives her the opportunity to evangelize. As she runs with friends, they typically discuss what is happening in their lives. She is often able to share different situations she prayed through and how she needed to rely on God throughout the week. It is a chance for her to be a witness to others while doing something she loves.