Assembly – Running the Race




  • 5 hoops
  • big coat / rucksack / running shoes / net / boxing gloves
  • Guitar / ukulele / piano (and person to play!)
  • 2 double-sided medals
    • bronze on one side and half-silver-half-bronze on the other
    • silver on one side and half-silver-half-bronze on the other

To make these cut four circles of card and cover each in silver foil. Use an orange permanent marker to colour one circle completely bronze, and two circles bronze on one half. Leave the fourth circle silver. Sandwich some ribbon between and glue pairs of circles back-to-back.


Suggested Texts

  • 2 Tim 4:7-8
  • Heb 12:1-2a

Running Order

Olympic  Rings

  • Have five children come out. Talk about what a continent is (a whole load of countries that are near each other).
  • Ask children to name a continent (if that’s too hard, have them name a country and supply the continent) NB N America and S America count as one.
  • As each continent is named, hand a hoop to a child.
  • When you have all 5 inhabited continents, have the children stand in a spaced-out row, holding their hoop with one hand at the top.
  • Children 1, 3 and 5 should hold their hoops high, while 2 and 4 hold theirs lower.
  • Talk about the Olympic Games bringing all the counties together while the children move closer, forming the Olympic rings.

Bible Bit

Use props to illustrate these Bible metaphors. With older children, read Bible texts.

  • Bible talks about life as running a race – children are near the start of their race, parents and teachers a bit further on, grandparents or even great-grandparents might be near the ends of their races.
  • Bible teaches us that the end of the race is not the end! If we are running on Jesus’ team there is a crown of life at the end.
  • We don’t run on our own – like at a marathon, there is a huge crowd cheering us on.
  • When we run the race we don’t wear big boots and heavy coats. We get rid of everything that slows us down.
  • In life, the Bible calls that sin, so we must throw it off.
  • Bible also says life is like a fight. We are not fighting another person, it’s more like fighting our way out of a tangling net.
  • If we are Christians we say we are playing on Jesus’ team, with Jesus as our coach.
  • So we must try to train well and do what the coach says. We must try to live our lives to please God.


  • Sing song ‘Oh you’ll never get to heaven’
    • Echo shown in italics.
    • Miss off chorus part (I ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no more), repeat first two lines instead
    • Guitar chords included

(C) Oh you’ll never get to (C) heaven – Oh you’ll never get to (C) heaven
in a baked bean (C) tin – in a baked bean (C) tin
‘cos a baked bean (G7) tin – ‘cos a baked bean (G7) tin
has got baked beans (C) in – has got baked beans (C) in

Oh you’ll never get to (F) heaven
in a baked bean (F) tin
‘cos a baked bean (C) tin
has got baked beans (C) in

Oh you’ll never get to (G7) heaven (G7)
in a baked bean (C) tin (C)

  • Same tune, but this about how we live our lives on our way to heaven, as part of Jesus’ team.

verse 1
Oh we run the race
to win the crown
that Jesus gives
to all his own

verse 2
In Jesus’ team
we fight the fight
to live our lives
in Jesus’ light

Split children in half to sing it, because we need team work for this song

Team Spirit

Bring two children to the front and use the double-sided medals to tell the story of two Japanese pole vaulters at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Their names were Shuhei Nishida and Sueo Oe.

The winning height was 4.35m, cleared by an American athlete, and he won the gold medal. Nishida and Oe both cleared 4.25m and so the second place was a tie. The Olympic rules said that one person had to beat the other to win the silver medal, but the two athletes were friends and did not want to compete against the other. Neither would be happy to win if it meant that their friend would lose.

Eventually, the judges decided that Nishida should have the silver medal and Oe the bronze. But they were not happy, so they came up with a clever plan.

When Nishida and Oe got home to Japan, they took their medals to a jeweler. He cut both medals in half and then joined them back together with half of the original medal in each new one. These half-silver, half-bronze medals became known as The Medals of Eternal Friendship.

A clip of the event (with English commentary) is at  (main action 7:30 – 10:00)



Thanks to Rev Nigel Adams for the story
Image credits at

2 thoughts on “Assembly – Running the Race

  1. Thank you for this, it was just what I need for this Sunday’s informal service with families.
    For prayers I am using sports equipment in a lucky Dip bag and giving thanks to God for different parts of our bodies that can “do” stuff. i.e a tennis ball for arms = throwing. Swimming Goggles for our eyes = watching, sports socks for our feet: kicking etc ( remembering to be inclusive for those with differing levels of ability or disability)


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