Marathon Challenge

12 medals from 12 races

12 medals from 12 races

This morning I ran with my friend, Mike Johnson. He recently completed a significant challenge: to run twelve marathons in twelve months. He started with the Houston Marathon on January 15, 2012 and finished with same marathon on January 13, 2013. Mike had been an all-American in cross-country at St. Thomas in 1980’s, but marathons had been a struggle for him. He wanted something that would be a challenge physically, mentally and spiritually plus become a way to raise funds for Camp Wapogasset where he works and serves.

What Mike discovered in the process of running is that challenges are not always fun. His first marathon was fast and fun, but then the constant grind of preparing, running and recovering from each marathon wore him down. Several times he thought about quitting, casting the whole challenge aside. But some internal voice kept pushing him to do one more training run, one more marathon, and one more recovery jog.   He had an internal drive to finish what he started.

I would not have criticized Mike if he had stopped the challenge early on. After all many people thinking running 26.2 miles once is crazy, let alone a dozen in a year. Yet I marvel at his perseverance and tenacity.

Perseverance is one of the spiritual values highlighted in the New Testament.

let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:2.

In a culture that seeks instant gratification, the Christian life is counter-cultural, valuing perseverance and patience. Jesus persevered through his suffering and crucifixion. Paul persevered in his missionary travels.

Mike’s challenge was pretty mild compared Jesus and Paul.  But Mike’s example showed me the constant challenge to persevere in my calling. I doubt that I will ever run 12 in 12, but I know that running my “race with Jesus” is going to call me to persevere through difficult and challenging times.

The good thing that both Mike and I know, Jesus runs with us all the way.

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me the strength to persevere.

2 thoughts on “Marathon Challenge

  1. opreach

    Thank you for this reminder of this reading from Hebrews. I am not a runner, though I walk a couple of miles every morning and workout.

    We have a custom in our congregation (of Dominican sisters). When we make our final profession of vows we wear a ring (like most sisters/nuns). Our particular custom is to inscribe a motto of our own choosing on the ring. When I made my final vows in 1999, I chose the words that follow the verse from Hebrews above. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” I’d like to say that I always do that. Fortunately I have this ring to remind me.

    Blessings, Pat


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