Last October, a marathon happened to me. As ridiculous as that statement is, it is also incredibly accurate. In March 2017, I felt compelled to sign up for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as a charity runner with Team World Vision. Everything about fundraising for an amazing organization sounded wonderful. Everything about running any distance sounded like death. The previous November, I tore my hip labrum thus ensuring that the marathon experience would be doomed before the sign-up sheet. However, a commitment is a commitment, so I dutifully spent last summer waking up early to lace up my running shoes before work, on vacations, and even on the weekends (the worst).
Because I wasn’t interested in completing the race and my injury was inhibiting my ability to properly train, I didn’t have any pride tied into the experience. Unfortunately, the lack of pride made the idea of quitting training runs extremely appealing. On one terrible Saturday morning run, I decided to quit running forever (dramatic). It just wasn’t benefiting me at all and I was done feeling like road kill everyday.
Immediately I regretted even considering that selfish thought. I was already aware that my life isn’t about me. I was forced to check my attitude and my intentions. Participating in the marathon was about something so much bigger than me. If I quit before I gave it my all, I would be robbing God of glory that he was due. I finished that run with an exhausted body, but an invigorated spirit and inspired mindset to go forth in building the Kingdom by raising money to support the incredible work of World Vision. Although my hip continued to get worse as the mileage increased, the community support pouring in through donations, encouragements, and prayers was overwhelmingly worth the blood, sweat, and tears.
Other than jogging approximately 2.5 miles at the start, I powerwalked the length of the marathon with one of my best friends. We crossed the finish line an embarrassing 8 minutes after the embarrassingly generous maximum time allotted to be an official marathon finisher. Luckily the officials had plenty of medals left, so I sheepishly accepted one, feeling like a failure and convinced that I had acquired stress fractures, missing toenails, and a further damaged hip (in reality the only true injury was my pre-existing hip problem).
I did not quite hit my fundraising goal, but I was overwhelmingly humbled by the amount of people who generously gave, texted me race-day encouragements, prayed for healing in my body, and who tried (unsuccessfully) to congratulate me on the accomplishment. I doubt that I will ever count the marathon itself as a positive event in my life. However, I hope to always remember that there are endless ways to contribute to the Kingdom. Some things in life aren’t enjoyable, but are completely worth the sacrifice when I acknowledge that the Lord is doing great works!
World Vision is a truly remarkable organization, committed to bringing health to communities around the world. Established in the 1950s, World Vision has established an incredible legacy of minimizing the causes of poverty and injustice to create thriving communities. Consistent in their values & strategic in their operations, World Vision used 85% of their 2016 budget to directly fund programs around the globe. Check out their website for more info and/or to sign up for a marathon!