This past week I ran the Army Ten-Miler in Washington DC. It was an experience I never thought I would have but one that was good for me. I had a vision of a big group starting together but then slowly breaking up over the first mile or so – not the case. There were over 25,000 people running this race, and it was a race everyone intended to win. My friend and I were surrounded by hoards the entire time. If you wanted to move past a group in front of you, you almost had to elbow your way through. It was really nuts. I mean, I paid nearly $500 to fly up to DC, get a hotel room, and pay for the race. Someone should have been paying me to run 10 miles, right?
But all of these people, over 25,000 of them, paid to get there. I would say at least half of them were not from DC.
As I sit here thinking about it, I am in awe really. If you want to run 10 miles, you can really do so for free. Step out your front door and go. No need of hotel rooms or airplanes. Just go.
But this race is more than that. It is the Army Ten-Miler. Many people there are running for someone that didn’t make it home. Others are there to prove to themselves that they can still “crush it.” At about the 8-mile mark I passed a man who had no legs. His friends were just starting to help him walk down the course. He had two metal sticks from his knees down. And he was running – running the race.
I came close to tears. Everyone cheered him on the way by.
“You can do it!”
I am sitting here thinking, “Would I have the strength to do that?”
It is amazing really. Amazing.
All along the streets where we ran there were people cheering us on with cowbells and signs that said, “Run Forest Run!” There were little children standing with their hands outstretched hoping a runner would notice and give them a high five. There were people of all sorts screaming, “You can do it” at almost every turn.
It propelled you forward. It urged you to continue the course.
Hebrew 12:1 says, “Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
The people on the sidelines are those who have gone before. The people running – they are the ones still in the world – seeking the finish line of this life and hoping for the new. We all run at different paces, and at different turns we are surrounded by different people who help us along the way.
At one point a guy taps me on the shoulder. He points to a picture of my husband that I had pinned to my back. “How do you know Doug DiCenzo?” You could see his shock when I told him. “I was with him in Iraq,” he said. “He was a good man. God bless you.” And then he was gone.
We are all running the race, even if it is not the actual ten-miler in DC. We are all on the path to the finish line with all its deferred hopes and unfulfilled desires. At times we are running uphill, and at times we are running down. At times we turn a corner and something smacks us off our feet. But it doesn’t matter that we fall. It doesn’t matter that at times our friends have to carry us. It doesn’t matter that at times we can’t get through the hoard. It matters that we finish – that we run the race set before us.
Don’t give up hope. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t give up on God.
Run. Your. Race.
In time, you will see the finish line.