Running is Redemption
On Saturday, thousands of people–runners, people that would qualify as ‘elderly’, costume-clad individuals, & even non-athletes–awoke before dawn and gathered around Centeniel Park for the annual Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon. Adrenaline & the god-aweful smell from the porta potties wafted over the streets; people checked their watches obsessively counting down ’til race time; runners did various pre-race routines. The National Anthem was sung, the gun shot, and the race began! People lined the streets for miles with all kinds of costumes & posters (my favorite: “You paid to do this–now SMILE!”). Words really cannot describe the I’m-in-the-middle-of-thousands-grunting-up-these-hills feeling–it really is a “runners high” at its finest.
My favorite part of marathons is seeing the runners who have the message written all over them: “this race is redemption for me”. It’s the woman who recently lost 100 pounds. It’s the man who beat cancer–and has a fan club on the side of the road telling the world : “Cancer can’t catch Johnny”. The elderly man with a shirt on declaring he’s churning out 13.1 miles for his late wife. Or the hundreds of people who do 26.2 miles in a wheelchair.
Back in the fall, I was training for another half marathon and I wrote in my prayer journal:
“I realized why I love running. Running is, for me, symbolic of redemption. I was never athletic when I was little. I was overweight. I was always the last one picked for the sports teams.
But something about running “on wings like eagles” reminds me that you can redeem all things. All those times I was on the softball field and made fun of because I was ‘the worst’. All those times I was picked last.
Running is just a piece of you redeeming the past, but redemption nevertheless. May I continue to run and glorify you with my body.”
You Might Consider Training for a Half-Marathon If. . .
If you are depressed, train for a half-marathon and see how your mood lifts every day after your run. If you are overweight, those pounds will not evaporate without some serious hard work. Some people lose 30-40 pounds while training for half-marathons. If you are insane, i.e. doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results in your fitness & appearance. TIME TO SIGN UP! Nothing will change without a goal and some accountability. If you are single, joining a running group is a great way to meet someone! If you want to save money, ditch the gym membership & hit the road! If you recently overcame an illness, nothing like solidifying the ‘win feeling’ than by training and crossing the finish line. If you need the reminder that Christ can redeem everything? RUN! Think about the ‘impossible’ becoming a reality in crossing that finish line.
Loosen your grip on your own desires, put yourself through a little bit of daily pain, and sign up for a half marathon. Our culture could use a lesson in delayed gratification. Just like choosing vegetables over chocolate or purity now for a deeper connection with your spouse later, the future of crossing that finish line is well worth the pain now. It’s not for everyone, but it might be for you. Over time, it will get easier & become enjoyable. Promise. It happened to me (remember, I was the overweight 5th grader?). Before you know it, you’ll be calling yourself a RUNNER.
Have you ever completed a half or full marathon? What can you tell us about the feeling? Anyone now considering training?
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