I bet you weren’t aware that September 19th there was a marathon taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma? Didn’t think so.
A couple of days before the big run I got an invitation in my inbox. It simply stated that a mom in one of my circles was turning 40 and she had on her Bucket List a line that read, “run a marathon before 40.”
Not knowing her too well and not being trained up for a long run like that, I thought to myself, “hmm…that sounds cool….hope that goes well for her.”
Little did I know that in about an hour or two I was going to be involved. My cell rang and one of my dearest, move mountains for ya, friend called and asked me about packing for a marathon. She wanted to know what she needed in her pack, what should she eat the night before, and so on. After answering a few of her questions, I stopped and asked, “ugh..Christy, have you been training for a marathon?”
“No, but I ran a 5k and I am going to a yoga class, I think I’m good,” she says back to me, laughing.
Drop jawed, I probed a bit more and found out that my sweet Christy believed God was going to teach her something through the experience and give her the endurance to support her friend. Her training was weak, but her faith was strong. Needless to say, she was running which meant I would be joining her to make sure she’s packed properly and good to go after the first five or six miles.
September 19th, the air was unusually muggy, but in a Kum & Go parking lot off Riverside, a band of women and some husbands stood huddled together praying for one another. They prayed for strength, they prayed for no injuries, and most importantly, they prayed to trust God through the experience.
It was surreal running alongside such determined women. Alicia was about to turn 40 and wanted to redeem her self-talk as a quitter. Kim survived her first year after losing her husband unexpectedly. And Christy, well, her gift of empathy surpasses that of any other human being I have ever met.
These three finished all 26.2 miles of the unlikely marathon.
And mile by mile their prayers were answered through those who loved them the most. Every mile housed people coming alongside them and running, or encouraging, or feeding, or offering drinks….people in their lives being the hands and feet of the very God they worship.
Running strips life back to the bare essentials. When we challenge ourselves, it breaks down barriers. It brings us back to our essence and peels away the layers of ego we surround ourselves with. Many a grown man or woman will cry during or when finishing a marathon: long regarded as the ultimate achievement in the running world. Emotions flow freely, the struggle is obvious and most of the competition is with yourself.
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