29 September 2022

The London Marathon: running on a prayer

Simon Hope

As he prepares to run the London Marathon on Sunday (2 October) with Team Sally Army, former Big Brother contestant Glyn Wise talks to Simon Hope about his life and calling.

While he may have come to popularity through his antics in the Big Brother house, Glyn Wise hasn’t rested on that fame. Since his stint on the Channel 4 reality series, he’s been a teacher, a radio and TV presenter and travelled the world, teaching in China and Ghana. Now he’s on his way to becoming ordained in the Church in Wales. Oh, and he’s running with Team Sally Army in the 2022 London Marathon.

How do your experiences influence you today?

From being a Big Brother contestant, I learnt to live with people. I was in the house for three months and there were people from all walks of life, so I know how to cope with that.

Being a teacher is the same as being up at the front as a preacher. You need to keep the congregation interested in what you have to say while making sure that they go out having learnt something. And being a radio and TV presenter is about getting a quick message out there in a clear and structured way, and that comes through when you’re trying to write a sermon.

But I have to admit, I had the best experience working at St Michael’s Church in Camden Town, north London. That’s where I worked with prostitutes and people experiencing homelessness – people on the outskirts of society. You really feel like that’s what Jesus would have been doing.

I believe that everything I’ve done in my past has led to where I am now. I have three years studying and then two years working as a curate and then I become a priest. At first I was thinking, oh my goodness, I could become a doctor in the same time. But being a doctor is not my calling. I feel that the priesthood is my calling.

Talking about religion is a bit like Marmite, but I pray before any interview or before putting anything out on social media. And do you know what? I haven’t had any negativity in response.

Glyn Wise running in a Salvation Army running top

I really believe that God has called me to be his servant. I’ve asked him to use me in whatever way he wants to spread the good message of Jesus Christ and I think that’s what he’s doing.

Why are you running with Team Sally Army?

When I was in Camden, we used to work with The Salvation Army and I saw all the excellent work that it does, especially with people experiencing homelessness. The Salvation Army’s work follows the guidelines of what Jesus Christ was asking us to do: go out there and help others and treat your neighbour as you want others to treat you.

Now, with the price of heating going up, more and more people are facing homelessness, and I think helping The Salvation Army to be out there – ready to help people in need – is a great cause. That’s why I asked if I could run for Team Sally Army.

How would you encourage others in their spiritual journey?

First of all, it all begins with prayer. I’ve always known that praying was important, that God is always there to listen. He’s a big brother, a friend, your Father, and he wants you to turn to him in good days and in bad days.

Glyn Wise with his arms crossed wearing a Salvation Army running top

I think it’s important to turn to God when you’re in a good place because he makes you humble. I thank him for the fact that I’m healthy, I’m fit, I can go out there and work and I’m in a really good position in life.

And one thing that I would say to anybody who’s on a journey is to always trust in God. He is the light that always shines upon you.

I would also like to thank everyone in The Salvation Army for all the work they are doing, because it’s life-changing.

When you do the work you do, it’s easy to feel like you’ve done something small. But then there are repercussions for everything, and I think that even the smallest thing that you do for The Salvation Army means a lot to a lot of people. And that’s why I’m running the marathon for the Army!

Written by

A photo of Stevie Hope.

Simon Hope

Editorial Assistant

Someone running a marathon to raise money for The Salvation Army

Join Team Sally Army!

Run for The Salvation Army in the London Marathon in 2023 or find another event to challenge you.

Find out more

Discover more

Laura-Jane Kingscott shares how running has helped her recover from a difficult season and meet new people.

Raising the profile of sport as an arena for mission, worship and discipleship.

Combine exercise, reflection and wellbeing with resources from the DIRT series.

Volume 3 of the video-based discipleship resource that help groups explore searching questions about life and faith through sport.