Perseverance at Districts

April 25, 2010
The day is dark and dreary, as if a storm is approaching. My thoughts for the day begin to settle in as I arrive at school an hour early to take a math test. Thoughts about the cross country race today in Hershey periodically distract my mind from the test. The sporadic rain showers only add to my anticipation of the race, and my wondering if it will be cancelled or not. Finishing the math test, I walk to chapel and then to my morning classes. Because of the time of the race and the distance needed to travel, the team leaves early, missing the afternoon classes. This bus ride to Hershey prepares my mind for the race that is yet to come. I try to relax, eating some food and reading my Bible. Nevertheless, as the race time grows nearer, my anxiety grows as storm clouds before a thunderstorm. The race that lies ahead is one that will change my view of running and give me a new view of how God will help me to overcome any obstacle in life.

When I reach the cross country race course my anxiety increases. Since no pre-race course walks are allowed, I can only dream of the course and its painful and sweat-stained hills that I will soon be running. The rain has made the ground wet and muddy, so footing will be perilous and like running on ice. I try to relax under our team tent with the others, talking to my teammates in order to shake off my fear. I see the girls’ team warm-up and stretch out for their race. My teammates and I jog down to the course to see the race and encourage the girls. While watching the race and listening to worship music, my heart rate increases, for I know I will soon be racing. After this brisk warm-up, my teammates and I jog back to the tent to stretch out. This gives me one more chance to prepare myself and trust God that He will give me strength. I realize that I am dependent on God and that He will help me, despite the importance of the race, and the precarious condition of the race course. I bid my final farewell to the safety of the tent, and jog over to the starting line.

Upon my arrival at the starting line, my head is in a flurry. In order to loosen up and increase our heart-rates, my team members and I do a few sprints. We then return to the starting line. The world seems to pause as the racers wait for the sound of the gun. The gun goes off. A stampede of teenage boys storms out at a brisk pace. That is not our team’s strategy. The plan is to start out conservative, gradually increasing until the end of the race. Much faith is required, as I watch plenty of racers cruise by me. Nevertheless, I put my trust in God, knowing that He will help me.

The first mile goes by quickly and without much event. Despite the muddy ground and loose footing, God helps me to maintain my balance. My focus increases as I approach mile two of the course. My body begins to burn as I climb one hill after another. As I cross the second mile marker, my body feels like giving out. I watch my teammates Jared and Ryan run by me, and I feel as if giving up. My legs feel like they are on the verge of dying, and my breathing is strained. Despite this, God helps me to keep the position I am in, just barely a medaling one, as I approach the final hill. This hill, only two hundred meters from the finish line, is one last obstacle in this wild course. I realize that all I trained for will be lost if I do not fight through. At this moment, God gives me an overwhelming desire and strength to run as fast as I can up the hill. I begin to catch other runners, and eventually even pass Jared and Ryan on the homestretch. When I cross the finish line, I feel great joy. However, I begin to feel sick and nauseous, and must hold onto my mother’s arm for support. I feel dizzy, my heart is still racing, and I stumble around, talking incoherently to my family. While walking around after the race to recuperate, I almost vomit. Recovering somewhat, I walk forward to receive my medal and take my place with the other medalists, overjoyed how God helped me to have strength when I depended on Him.

Running the Cross Country Districts race helped to strengthen my faith, and helped me realize that God will give me strength to overcome any obstacle in life. I put my trust in Him, knowing that He would give me strength, and He pulled me through the race. I was about to give up, but then He put a passion and desire in me, as well as the strength to finish the race. God will always be there to help me, not only on the race course, but also in any situation in life.

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