Life's Greatest Race

December 22, 2010
By Kelley Harrington BRONZE, Wexford, Pennsylvania
Kelley Harrington BRONZE, Wexford, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

It hits like a ton of bricks. The silence at the starting line, pounding chest, and uncertainty of what lies ahead take control of each soul as they prepare for their journey. There is no turning back, no escape route. Each man must fulfill his destiny and complete the daunting task. A gun severs the air laid heavy with silence and every man takes his position and cries out loud one last time. It is no longer a battle of man versus man, but rather a fight between man and himself. His own worst enemy is his mind, and it takes a true man to conquer this battle. Every obstacle, mental or physical, encountered on a cross country course represents the challenges of a simple yet complex life.
The beginning of the three miles is easy. The runner is full of energy and his body pumps with adrenaline. He may go out fast, or run with others in a pack. The runner does not know what looms ahead but tries to focus on the present. Childhood relates to the first mile of a race. At first, breathing comes easy, and the body feels fresh and new. All energy is focused on passing those around him – no matter who they may be- and being the best. After the adrenaline wears down, reality begins to set in. The runner realizes the challenge he faces and focuses his mind on taking one step at a time. This represents a growing child and how he slowly takes on each challenge of life such as going to school, making friends, and learning right from wrong. With the second mile approaching, it is hard to believe the first mile is almost through, but the runner cannot focus on the past- he must prepare for the new set of challenges ahead.
The mind slowly begins to fade with each breath. Sweat rolls down his eyebrows as he continues his long trek. The pack is now broken up, and each runner must continue on his own. The brain says to slow down, and the feet scream in agreement. He does not quit; he knows he must continue. The pain only increases when he reaches a hill. It winds upward in an unforgiving and endless pattern. Doubt and distress rise higher and higher with the hill, and the runner wants to stop- but he does not. He continues up the hill until he finally reaches the top. This hill represents the challenges a person faces during early adulthood. Everyone faces challenges such as peer pressure, college, and jobs, but how each person faces these problems makes him who he is. When each hill is conquered, a flat expanse of wooded trails lies ahead. This is a runner’s favorite part, but no one appreciates it as much as he should. The flat trails allow the runner to come back to reality and get a hold of his breathing. They are like the times in life where nothing exciting is happening, but all is content. These trails help a person reconnect with himself and allow him to relax. At the end of two miles, the runner is feeling confident and believes he is ready for mile three.
The third mile is nothing a runner expects. This good feeling is quickly replaced by a sense of uncertainty. The race is almost finished- but not yet. The end is so close- yet so far. These thoughts are embedded in a runner’s mind as he tries to quicken his pace and focus all energy he has left on finishing. This mile is a battle between man and his mind. A runner must learn to suppress all doubt and fear and enjoy the race. This relates to adulthood- a period in a person’s life when he is always on the move. Life is passing him by, and he is focusing his energy on the future and not living in the moment. Towards the end of the third mile, the runner is thinking about three things: slowing down, finishing, and drinking water. Once the finish line comes into his sight, though, the runner quickens his pace, and, once again, adrenaline pumps through his veins. Running as fast as he can, a runner barely notices the pain that engulfs his whole body. Run, run, run is all that resides in his brain.
Stop. It is over. When his foot crosses the finish line, the race is over. The pain, the doubt, and the discomfort are forgotten with the finish of a race. The runner feels exhausted but content knowing he put one hundred percent into the race. He feels a sense of accomplishment having left everything on the course. When a person grows old, he has a similar feeling knowing he lived a great life and would not change anything because each experience shaped him into who he is. There is no use in reminiscing about past mistakes. There is no way to change how one ran the race. Running cross country is like living life, each obstacle presents a new challenge, and each step leads to a new discovery.

The author's comments:
This is a piece I wrote relating life to a cross country race.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Sep. 21 2011 at 5:52 pm
Rocinante SILVER, Wexford, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 386 comments
Wow you're good, this really does make a good analogy. Nice job!

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