Saint Paul Seminary rector has made long-distance running part of routine, seminary culture

father joseph taphorn saint paul seminary rector running marathon
Fr. Joseph Taphorn, rector of The Saint Paul Seminary, has run four marathons and five half marathons.

Arguably the two nicest parks in Omaha are across the street from each other.

Memorial Park sits north of Dodge Street, with Elmwood Park on the opposite side. Within walking distance of both is St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, where Fr. Joseph Taphorn lived and served served while working in various leadership roles for the adjacent Archdiocese of Omaha chancery.

Any honest leader will admit it’s a gig that comes with stress. Taphorn found one way to manage it: running the various paths and trails Memorial and Elmwood Park have to offer.

“I realized there’s all these beautiful running trails right outside my back door, literally,” said Taphorn, now the rector of The Saint Paul Seminary. “So I just started running.”

The personal workouts turned into public races for the competitive Omaha native. First, a “fun run” for vocations 5K. Next, a 10K. Now, about a decade later, Taphorn has participated in four marathons, including the Twin Cities Marathon twice, and five half marathons.

His best time: 4 hours, 2 minutes and 58 seconds at the 2018 Heartland Marathon in Omaha.

He’s let other priests and seminarians in on the fun, too. Several have joined him in marathons. He and 11 seminarians plan to compete in this year’s Ragnar long-distance, team, overnight running relay from St. Paul to Duluth, a journey of more than 200 miles.

“I think [running and sports can be] very important for relationship building,” Taphorn said. “It also helps you personally – I’ve got a pretty busy job. Vigorous exercise is just a good way to kind of clear the head and even pray, in its own way.”

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