Heavy fog, a light drizzling rain, in 42-55 degree temperatures was not an ideal Saturday for most people in Duluth, MN, but for the thousands of marathoners gathered, it was great weather for breaking new time records. For us, it was simply a miracle that we were attempting to run the race. Both Samuel and David sustained sports injuries which should have kept them out of the race. David had not run more than 4 miles in months, but had consulted several doctors who specialize in sports injuries. They cautiously encouraged him to do all he could to exercise other muscle groups and build endurance while not using any injured muscles. Then Samuel pulled a muscle just a few days before the race. They both resigned themselves that they would not be able to run the race. However, David’s dad counseled them that since they were nearby for a family reunion, they might as well go and pick up the race packet and the t-shirt. However, when they walked into the big convention hall, Samuel groaned out loud what David was thinking already, “Let’s just start running the race and see how far we get before we drop out!” They truly caught the running fever :-).
With a sweet kiss at the starting line, David was inspired for the race, however long it might be before he would have to drop out. As we all drove up that chilly morning, Priscilla read Hebrews 11-13. Several verses stood out, but one in particular gave David the direction and inspiration he was needing for the long race: “make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:13).
Priscilla had carefully packed a shirt for David to toss away once he got warmed up. There are so many analogies between running a race and the Christian life. Tossing aside the extra weight is necessary if we are to finish strong. The good really can be the enemy of the best.
Nothing like a comrade to spur you on. This was Samuel’s first marathon, while David did one a couple years ago. However, neither had trained fully so it was a blessing they were able to run at all. A friend who had just missed the bombing at the Boston Marathon had also been injured prior to her run in that marathon and she just thanked God for each mile that she was able to go. That was inspiration for Samuel and David to thank God for each step they were able to take. Really, each breath we have is a gift from God. The crowded finish line had one focus for David. He was looking for Priscilla and Paul!
Ah! 26.2 miles are now passed and lots of memories have been made.Here is another portion of Hebrews that was very encouraging “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
David’s family surprised him and came out to the race. Because Samuel and David were not competing so much for time, but focusing on simply completing the race, they came to the finish line after running for 4 hours and 25 minutes. The perk was that many of the runners had already gotten their food and the volunteers insisted that David and Samuel take plenty of food for their waiting family.