This past Saturday my son's soccer team (7th - 12th grades) participated in a local 5k race. Our soccer team is not very well known, although the football team is known all over the state and has even won nationals. In any case, the booster club thought this would be a good way to promote our team. And it was.
He's almost there!
Saturday started out cold. Well, here in the south 30° is what we call cold! The sun was shining, however, and the day was beautiful. A bunch of our guys gathered together to warm up. The coach has been conditioning our guys (no soccer balls allowed until this week; only endurance building) since early December. In fact, if they did not run Saturday's race, then they were scheduled to run 5 miles the Friday afternoon before. So a 5k should be no big deal to any of them.
More than 500 people signed up to run or to participate in the 1 mile walk which was scheduled after the run. There were people of all shapes, sizes and ages participating, including babies pushed in strollers by their running dads or moms. Even dogs participated in the event. People came from not just our area, but from even out of state.
Crossing the finish line of his first race!
Let me tell you about two of the runners in particular. The first was a gentleman in his 30s/40s who was dressed appropriately for running. When the race began, he was one of the first five to go. When the race ended, he was the first across the line with a time of 17:58. This man was an experienced runner. No one was even close to him in time.
The second runner is a senior in high school, one of our soccer players. I had expected him to be high in the finishing. This guy is that good. When he showed up well over 40 minutes into the race, dragging and looking beat, I was shocked. Something must have happened. There was no way this guy could be so far back (he was one of the first five, along with the gentleman mentioned above). When it came time for the awards, the emcee made a special, public apology to this young man. It turns out that although he was in the front of the race at the beginning, he had been given faulty directions along the way by a group of bystanders, and went in the opposite direction, up hills, and a good distance away, and had made it back. Everyone was shocked! This young man had not given up, he finished the course. I am so pleased to have this kind of attitude on our team.
He looks beat.
Now let me tell you about the rest of the race. I don't remember the exact time, but before the first 22 minutes passed our guys (soccer team) started coming in. At 24:10 my son came in! He was in the top twenty to cross the line. This was his first ever race. He turned fifteen on the 14th of this month. My younger son said he saw him pass, and his hair was flying in the wind! All of our guys finished the race. Our guys finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their age group. I was so proud I could bust a button!
Now I have been motivated to work extra hard, get in shape and be ready to run in next year's 5k.
I have had personal times like the second runner. I have chosen to go in the wrong way, which has resulted in detours and hard times. However, I had done my best to push on and to finish a good race. Sure I stumble and fall -- a lot!! But the point is to keep on going. I believe Paul puts this into perspective in I Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." Read the whole chapter! II Timothy 4:6-8 says "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."