That 10 kilometre run for charity I told you about a few weeks ago? It was this week.
And Yours Truly ran the whole thing, crossing the line after exactly fifty eight minutes and forty six seconds. I’m a little stiff but I feel great.
It didn’t just happen. I trained up for it over the last weeks and months. Less chocolate, more exercise! But yeah, result!
Several images from Wednesday evening stick in my mind.
I’m neither the best nor the worst runner so while there were some people behind me there were quite a few in front, stretched out up the road ahead. The centre of town had stopped the cars and there were crash barriers and traffic cones in places to keep everyone on the right track. Out in the country parts there were markings on the road and race stewards at the turns to make sure no one got lost.
The scripture verse that came to mind was from Hebrews 12 which encourages people who believe to ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us’. We don’t see the whole course at the start, or the turns until we’re almost at them, but there is a plan and we’ll get the direction we need. We just keep running on faith.
Now it requires some determination and perseverance on our part. We have to keep going on the steep sections or when our muscles start to ache or when some little voice in our head tells us we’ve had enough. We might have to play a few games with ourselves psychologically, such as look at the other competitors and think, ‘Well if they can do it so can I!’ Or imagine the celebration (with food!) waiting not too much farther now.
New Testament Apostle Paul foresaw many challenges ahead in pursuing his calling but professed, ‘I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.’ (Acts 20 v 24) Now there’s dedication!
One of the fabulous things is how much encouragement we get from the stewards clapping and cheering us on, or folk from the town who have turned out to watch. Lots of waves and applause, faces we recognise, smiling, urging us on, children reaching out to give runners ‘high fives’ as we pass.
And when we finally approach the finish line we may get to hear the commentator announce over the loudspeaker, ‘Here comes number 242…’ and our name called out as if we were Mo Farah. Ah, that feels good.
Indulge me one more time but a preacher can’t help but think of one of Jesus’ parables where the returning king rewards his obedient subjects with the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant…Come and share your Master’s happiness!’
So don’t stop believing. Keep going. It’s going to be so worth it in the end.