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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Roar of the Crowd... a few words of encouragement!

One of the aspects of race day that was hard for me to understand before I started racing was the thrill of the crowd. 

I had never been to a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon or full before running one.  So I didn't really understand how powerful the crowd could be.  Nor did I realize that hundreds and, in the case of marathons, thousands of people would line up to watch runners run past. 

Thankfully, they do.  And they cheer!  

As I have been tapering for Saturday's race, as I've run, I have thought about different aspects of the race... the finish line... the medal...  seeing my wife along the race course... Saturday, I was reminded of the crowd in a tangible way.  On my Saturday route, I went through a cemetery.  This cemetery has been a regular part of my running route for the last year and a half.  Many of my routes go through this cemetery.  It's a two part cemetery with a small bit of woods between.  As I came out of the woods and into the lower portion, I noticed two people standing on the road.  They were talking and pointing down into the cemetery at something (I couldn't hear... I had music going).  I changed lanes to go around them and as I did, the lady motioned with her hand across her forehead as if to wipe sweat away.  So I took out one earbud so I could hear her as I ran past. 

She said, "Whew! We already got our 10 miles in for the day." 
I said, "Give me a few more miles and I'll have mine in!" 
They laughed and I continued on...

As I rounded the corner and headed down the hill out of the cemetery, I could hear them cheering me on with genuine shouts of "Go! Go! Go! Go!"

It was like steroids for my spirit! 
It was like a horsepower shot directly into my leg muscles! 
I felt fresh and energetic like I was running on air. 

It got me thinking about Saturday!  Many places along Saturday's marathon course will be lined by people cheering, yelling and encouraging runners as they run past.  Unless you've run something like that, you can't truly understand how awesome that feels. 

See, I played football and basketball in high school.  I never remember hearing anyone cheering... although there were always crowds.  I never remember hearing the cheerleaders (although they were there), the band (certainly there) or the crowds.  But when I'm out there running a race, it's hard to miss them!  And hearing them feels awesome! 

It also got me thinking about the Christian life.  We all need people cheering and encouraging us.  But we also need to be cheering and encouraging others too.  Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says... "29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Who is encouraging you?
Who is cheering for you?
Who are you encouraging?
Who are you cheering on?

Saturday, I'll never know many of those who are cheering for me... they will be a blur as I run past!  But know this:  I will never forget their encouragement!

Jim 

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