Saturday, September 25, 2010

Akron 1/2... Had a blast!!!

I had an absolute blast today!!!!

Today, I ran the Akron (Ohio) 1/2 Marathon and it was awesome.  (This picture is me at the start line after the race was over.)  I had a pretty good time... 2 hours, 6 minutes and 40 seconds.  I was hoping for less than 2 hours... but it just didn't happen... and I'm okay with that. That's a respectable time for my first half marathon. 

It was a fun race... I'm already thinking about returning next year for the full 26.2 miles. 

But something dawned me today.  After I completed my race, Jackie and I hung out in Canal Park Stadium (home of the Akron Areos)... where the finish line was... and watched as the other runners came into the stadium.  We watched them cross the finish line.  Some of them struggled to walk another 10 feet after crossing. 

After a bit, we left and went over to the YMCA (queue the music) where the Akron marathon had worked out an opportunity for free showers.  Rather than subjecting Jackie to smelling me... and I stunk... all the way home, I thought the shower would be a wise investment.  It was.  I felt good afterwards.

But then we stood along the race course and watched some of those who were still coming in for the full marathon.  I recognized some faces since I had run with some of these folks... They ran the full... I ran the 1/2... but we were running a similar pace.  So we had run together.  As I watched them, a Scripture came to mind.

" 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

As I watched them and cheered them, I felt like part of that cloud of witnesses and I got a glimpse of heaven.  Many of those who were running the full were struggling to finish (and they only had about 400 meters to go... but when you've gone that far, another step can be a struggle) and I wanted them to finish so bad I could taste it for them.  I wanted to jump in and run it for them... but I couldn't. The Akron Marathon allows us to put our names on our bibs above our numbers so we could cheer for them by name.  It was great to cheer people on by name in the midst of their greatest struggle.  I can imagine heaven filled with the millions of those who have gone before... some of which we know (Peter, Andrew, James, John, Stephen and others)... some of which we don't... all cheering us on as we run.  Screaming... cheering... chanting our names as we run towards the finish.  They've gone before where we haven't gone yet... but they know the glory and thrill that lies just around the bend and across that finish line. 

That seems to be exactly the image in Hebrews 12!!! What a great experience!!!

Overall the half marathon was a great, great experience.  Fun to run with so many people who were serious about running.  Fun to face the challenge of 13.1 miles (most I had done previously was 11 miles).  And felt great to cross that finish line... running... hard!!! (Hopefully I'll have that picture soon... since the Akron marathon photographs everyone crossing... to put up here.)

I want to finish life that way. 
I hope you do too!!!
I want to finish spiritually running hard!!!!

A couple of days off... back on the road on Tuesday for a couple of miles. 
What's next?  I don't know for sure.  I'll let you know.  Right now, I need a nap!!!


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