The real challenge is not winning the race

I’m sitting here with my leg up. The last few weeks have seen me increasing my mileage on my runs (no special reason, not doing the London Marathon this year, though I’m considering doing something similar later in the year). Half way round a fast – for me – 8k this morning and felt a twinge in my left calf, decided to press on. By the end it was sore!

There’s a great book I’m picking up that’s got me motivated. Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner. Wow. It’s a kind of memoir, well written, about this crazy man who has … well, let him tell you the kind of things he does.

Reading his book kind of puts a sore calf in perspective. I have over the years done a few marathons, when I was in my late teens and twenties I even did a couple of mountain marathons and even once did 50 miles over night – ended up in hospital at the end with a busted knee! The thing which struck me about the video is Dean’s line, “The real challenge is not winning the race, it’s crossing the finish line.”

A line from the book grabs me too, though I’m not sure I agree with it right now. It came as he was three quarters of the way through his first 100 mile mountain marathon, given by a Red Indian Chief manning a water station in the wilderness. ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body.’ Hmmm….. in between Ibuprofen, I’ll try to remember that!

My friend J John told a group of us once that in his home country of Cyprus, the ancients used to run a race called the milos, where competitors had to clamber over all kinds of obstacles, carrying a flame. At the end, it was the first one to cross the line with the flame still burning that got to wear the victory wreath. It’s endurance that counts, in the long run!

1 Cor 9:24 in the Message keeps me keeping on: You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

Great to run with you.

One thought on “The real challenge is not winning the race

  1. This was encouraging today Ant. In two weeks time Hazel & I will be on holiday. Right now we’re both really exhausted. I don’t feel like I’ll be first across the line by a long chalk… but I do intend to finish the race! Thanks for the encouragement! Hope the knee gets better.

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