It’s June–that means marathon and 5K season is upon us. Unfortunately for me, I had my big toenail removed last week, so I won’t be participating in much of anything active over the next several weeks, but I’m able to be an avid spectator and supporter, and was able to witness two friends finish the Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, Indiana, last Saturday, and may have time to train for Chicago in October..? Right.
“I wanted to run a race with my daughter before she leaves for Uruguay to work with an organization called Claves this month,” my friend and pro marathoner Tom Miller said after he finished the race. “Marathoning also keeps me in shape…and out of trouble.”
Tom was one of thousands of competitors racing after training for months. All the competitors competed for various reasons: some because they wanted to get married (there were two proposals at the finish line – watch on ABC News), or because they wanted to induce early labor.
“I think if I tried to run a marathon, I’d collapse at the finish line,” my friend Meghan said as we watched a pregnant woman who looked like she was about to pop–10 days from her due date–cross the finish line (watch video on ABC News).
I’m not pregnant, and was in no way, shape, or form prepared to run 26.2 miles at 6 a.m. Saturday, but I was able to operate my camera and pick up some pointers from Tom and his daughter Lauren. If I ever want to start running marathons, Tom, who completed the Boston Marathon in April of this year and set a personal record at Saturday’s race in South Bend, told me to:
1) Start Running
“Even if it’s just for 20 minutes at a time, start running, no matter how slow,” Tom says. “Start out with a set time every day, and just go. Eventually you’ll build up to competition pace.”
2) Sign Up for a Race
“Start with a half marathon if you have to–just make sure you commit to something and follow through.”
Lauren, Tom’s daughter, has now completed two marathons, and says perseverance is the name of the game. “Perseverance is my theme,” Lauren said. “I have to yell it half the time.”
In a lot of ways, running is the perfect analogy for the Christian faith. Competitors often feel struck down, but not defeated (2 Corinthians 4:9, Gatorade stations, “gu gels,” and 5-Hour-Energy shots help with that); and it’s said in James 1:3 that the testing of your muscles (er…faith), produces perseverance – i.e., an admirable and God-honoring discipline.
So maybe, following the Millers’ example to buckle down, train, and persevere, I’ll sign up for a marathon after all.