As of today by 12pm in Raleigh, NC about 8,500 people crossed the finish line in the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and half-marathon. I imagine for many of the participants, this was a an item that they can now cross off their bucket list. I personally have never aspired to run in a marathon. I think my legs and lungs would give out well before I reached the 26.2 mile mark. However, I was fortunate enough this morning to be stopped in traffic due to the race course. As I was sitting somewhere along Gorman Street, I couldn’t help but notice the expressions of those passing by. Before I realized it, I was drawn in. Some were wearing crazy outfits. Some traveled in pairs. Some were by themselves. Some ran, some walked, others shuffled along at a pace that fell somewhere in between. Some wore smiles. Some had a mixture of sweat and tears rolling down their face.
As I observed these ordinary people, I noticed that very soon I was the one with tears in my eyes. These were not professional athletes like I had imagined would be the only type of person willing to succumb their body to that level of stress. No, these were mothers, fathers, community members, your average Joes. And it would seem all of them, no matter what walk of life they came from – they all had a reason they were running.
Once traffic started moving again and I had dried my tears, I began to notice other players in this marathon. Standing and sitting on the side of the road were volunteers and neighbors passing out water and constantly cheering the participants on. For all the hate that exists in the world, I could see none in that moment. The tears came back just as easily. And all this I observed from behind the steering wheel, sitting in the middle of the road on my way to church. It was as if God reached out and said, “Look at my creation. Aren’t they amazing?”
I once asked a friend if he admired man-made art or nature more. His response was that he admired God’s creation most. Yes, I think that sums up how I felt this morning. I’m sure God is also proud of us from time to time.
Congratulations to all the runners who dared take on the triple H threat that is Raleigh: heat, humidity, and hills. (Plus there’s the pollen which can do a number on your sinuses!) You obviously fought the good fight and finished the race strong. May we all be inspired by the purpose behind your endeavors.
Racing themes in scripture: 2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14; Isaiah 40:31