The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” — John Bingham (b. 1948), American marathon runner who believes that the goals of running are to have fun and finish—and that for a vast majority of amateur athletes running fast should not be the only aim.
We five are still on a post-race high despite stiff limbs and a residual lethargy borne out of fatigue after a gruelling Sunday morning. The feeling is similar to that of the morning after a night of painting the town red. I think. If I remember correctly.
My running group leader decided that we should all pen down our thoughts about the race in a bid to encourage others in our church community to join the sport. All ran the 10-kilometre race, except Dominic, who ran 21 kilometres, or the half-marathon.
Here’s what they each had to say.
Dominic, mid-30s, triathlete and our leader for two years running:
This year’s Standard Chartered Half Marathon gave me a clear perspective about one thing: Discipline. I was not in the best shape nor in the best condition to run. Why? I lacked discipline! The discipline to train, discipline to eat right, discipline to strengthen all parts of my body so I could get psyched up for the run.
Our body is God’s temple. So my attitude should be to instill discipline in it and not just take it for granted. Samson is a great example of how living on God’s grace is not good enough. We have to constantly submit, obey, and be consistent. I look forward to be disciplined next year, to consistently train and be trained, and be absolutely obedient.
Jonathan, 40+, experienced racer and swimmer:
God used this run to reflect my current Christian walk. When you start an endurance run, the end point is far and out of sight. The worst is at the midpoint; you’ve gone too far to turn back but you still can’t see the end and you are painfully tired.
Just like in this race, I am at the midpoint in my life towards meeting Christ. Yes, I can’t see the end point and currently, life is not a bed of roses. However, I will persevere knowing what is at the end waiting for me. I assure you it will be better than the rush all of us felt at the finishing line at the Padang. I want to be like Paul who finishes his race despite the tough journey God had for him. No regrets, folks!
Daniel, 30, on his second race:
In preparation for the race, we had to train at least once a week. And during these times, not only were we building ourselves up physically, we were also getting to know each other better.
Hebrews 10:25 says not to give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I believe that when we met together to run each week, we were also encouraging each other with our presence. It made us think that we could do this together. And I believe that this is what the writer in Hebrews meant when he wrote those words. As we continue our walk in God, it is important that we meet with fellow Christians as that would encourage us in our walk with God. It would not be as easy if I were doing this alone.
I thank God for the mercy He has shown me. Though I felt my right leg felt the effects of iliotibial band syndrome (ITB) at the two-kilometre mark, He carried me through the whole 10 kilometres of the race. And I was able to complete it faster than the previous year!
Just as we face challenges in our lives, we need to trust God to carry us through and I firmly believe that He will not only carry us through butwe will overcome all that is in our way with flying colours.
Royston, 30, on his first race:
Through this race, I learnt more about my running mates, their strength, determination and penchant for neon-coloured shoes. Also, what an elephant I truly am.
Most importantly, I learnt that God too helps elephants to stretch their limits and outdo themselves when there is a desire to run for His glory and delight. The knee issue that has plagued me has been healed in the midst of training. Completing 2011’s run has also encouraged me to keep running to Him in all that I do and to also strive for a better Gait, Timing, and most importantly, Stamina.
Yvonne, 30, her second race:
It wasn’t an easy run, as I took off in the first few kilometres. I talked to God throughout my run. No one can finish my race except for myself and GOD. It’s MY race. No one else can run it for me.
In the Christian walk, you know your friends are out there running as well, but my relationship with God is a very personal one, and He was running with me. There are so many people running, some are faster, some slower, but God was saying gently, “Run consistently at your own pace.” In the midst of trying to pace myself, my knee gave up. That’s when I prayed even harder.
Like many obstacles in life, the pain eased off much later at the eighth kilometre. As I hit the last 500 metres, I began to push myself to squeeze out the max out of me but my body wouldn’t listen. I finished my race at 1 hr 30 minutes, about three minutes faster than last year.
Looking back, I could or should have done better than a mere three minutes. Still, there is only one finish line in life and it has to be my best race!
Yu-Ming, 25, her first race:
You can read about how I felt throughout 2011 training for this race here and here.
Aside from my recent Race reflections here, I have to add that one of my primary motivations to keep running was so I could get into my skinnies. Also, I never felt so alive as in the days immediately after. Most runners will tell you that running clears the mind, it gives one a sense of accomplishment wrestling the body under control, conquering negative thoughts, focusing on form, enduring til the end point.
Three things I learnt about training for a race and giving your all on race day:
#1: There’s nothing like pain that is shared to bring people closer together.
#2: Having a friend cheering you from the sidelines, holding a camera in one hand, is the best booster. I suddenly found the energy to run a little faster after that.
#3: Everyone is a runner in the race that is Life. To know you are not alone? It’s the best feeling in the world.