Hope for Haiti
I’d heard about Hope for Haiti while listening to Joy FM on the radio. The run was to raise funds to complete a medical clinic at an orphanage in Haiti. This cause seemed like a good reason for me to see how fast these 50 year old legs could go.
The race started at Frontier Park in St. Charles right beside the beautiful Missouri River. The majority of the race was on the Katy Trail which is nice soft gravel and that was perfect for me. I was delighted when they started the race with a prayer. Lately I’d been pondering my sport, racing and wondering what God thought of all of this. In many ways racing is very self-serving and all about my ego. Sure competition motivates me to train and that keeps me in shape, consequently caring for the body that God gave me, but regular exercise could do the same thing. I wanted my racing to be more about God and less about me. For this race I decided to wear my iPod and as we charged down the first mile I was singing along to All For The Glory Of You. That put things in perspective; everything I do is for God’s glory.
I had figured since we were on the Katy trail which isn’t very wide that it would be a congested mess, but it wasn’t. The field spread out quite fast and soon there were single file runners and a few bunches here and there. I’d been following behind a woman and a bit after the first mile I caught her and as I passed her I urged her along saying “Come on stay with me, you can do it.”
I think she said thanks. Later after the race she sought me out and told me that this had been extremely helpful to her. In fact no one had ever done that to her in a race. Wow, what a great reminder to all of us how important a little bit of encouragement is. I’ve had strangers push me along during races. Once as we approached a large hill I slowed down thinking I’d walk up it and a lady shouted “Don’t let that hill stop you, you can do it!”
Well of course I had to run up it and yes I did it. The words of a stranger propelled me along. Powerful thing words are and every day we are blessed with the opportunities to help people with our words. Anyhow back to the race, around ¾ of a mile into the race this gal had galloped by me and I was sure she was in my age group. She stayed about three car lengths ahead of me and I kept my eye on her but couldn’t muster the speed to close the gap. Finally as we passed about the 2 ½ mile point I quit watching her. I went deep into myself. I felt my breathing; I focused on a fast leg turnover. Tiring I just pushed myself to an edge that I could sustain to the end and then as we turned to head to the finish around 2.8 miles I started to reel her in. At this point I had a great debate in my head, do I surge now, or wait. If I surge can I hold it? I knew it was a gamble but I just kicked it up a notch and powered by her. I ran hard and emptied the tank;crossing the finish line I knew I had given it my best.
Afterwards a young lady runner asked if I would take her picture. She was in the Navy stationed in Japan home on leave and wanted a photo to show to the folks back home sleeping in. I took a photo of her smiling at the finish line and then we waited for the results. Going into the race I wasn’t sure how I would do. I hadn’t run a 5K by itself since 2003 and that year at the age of 42 my best time was 24:26. This time at the age of 50 I went 25:13 and came in third in my age group. I brought home a very nice bronze medal but mostly I took home a lot of lessons that God taught me along the course….all for the glory of you Lord.