Jim Ryun ran a mile in record time so it’s somewhat fitting that he would help the Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast mark a milestone of its own: its 50th anniversary.

On May 1, Ryun will be the keynote speaker at the nondenominational gathering, sponsored by CBMC Tri-Valley, at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. Tickets are on sale now, with a table of 10 going for $200 each.

The Community Prayer Breakfast was started locally in 1958, six years after a National Day of Prayer was created by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S Truman. The annual observance is held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

Ryun achieved acclaim as a track and field star while a high school student in Wichita, Kan. In 1965, he set the male High School Mile Record of 3:55.3 — a record that stood for 36 years. He was a silver medalist in the 1968 Olympic Games and also participated in the 1964 and 1972 Olympics, along the way setting world records in the mile, the 1,500 meters and 880 yards.

Ryun served five terms in the House of Representatives, where he was a Republican member of the House Armed Services, Budget and Financial Services committees. After he was defeated in his re-election bid in 2006, Ryan turned his attention to Jim Ryun Sports Inc., a public relations company. He has also partnered with ReSound Hearing Aid Co., creating his own program “Sounds of Success,” aimed at helping hearing impaired children fulfill their potential.

He is the author of two books, Heroes Among Us and The Courage to Run, the latter of which is a collection of 60 devotional readings that provide practical principles to live by to help readers navigate life’s challenges.

Ryan and his wife, Anne, accepted Christ as their Savior shortly before the 1972 Munich Olympics. The former Santa Barbara residents live in Lawrence, Kan., and have four adult children and six grandchildren.

The 50th annual Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. May 1 at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Marian Groff at 805.965.8690.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com.

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.