Monday, November 2, 2009

Marathon Sunday

The New York Marathon happens the first weekend of November every year and it proves to be the most incredible day of the year in the city. 40,000 runners take on the task of completing the 26.2 miles beginning on Staten Island and concluding in Central Park and nearly all residents of the city come out to cheer on and applaud these amazing athletes. It is truly the most touching and unifying day in a city normally so full of selfishness and hardship. I look so forward to this day every year because it personally touches a part of my heart, both because of my love of running, and because of the tremendous support that total strangers show one another. It is awesome. For example, this guy from last year really gave out hugs to runners who were weary and needed a boost:
Another marathon has now come and gone (took place yesterday) and it was another tear-filled celebration that I'm so privileged to be a part of. Shamefully, we took NO pictures this year so here are a couple from last year:
This is at Mile 23 in Central Park:
You can get an idea of how neat it is to be alongside such amazing runners. Marathon day reminds me so much of what hope and opportunity is out there in life. It's such an inspirational showing of dedication, drive, ambition and passion which are things that I strive for in my everyday life. I am a runner myself and, as mentioned, have a love of the "sport" that reaches a place in my heart that's quite personal and moving. I've always placed this stigma on myself that I "can't" do certain things and it's a stronghold in my life that I pray fiercely against. Running a marathon is one of those things I "can't do" and, each year that passes, I swear I'm going to train for it the following year. I've run countless races of all mileage counts, including a half marathon which was one of the greatest days of my life:

I smiled practically the whole race and cheered as people cheered for me:
I finished with a 2:15 time and, for my first half marathon, I was incredibly pleased AND overjoyed to share the experience with Allison:
I point this out because days like marathon day spark a fire in me that is hard to describe in words. But, so much of our walk with god can be compared to that very race. With the marathon, you have to be slow and steady starting out while eating properly along the way, steadily hydrating, and maintaining focus for an extended period of time. This is so like our relationship with god and how he grows us over time as we maintain focus and draw life and strength from his word and plan. We trust blindly and give ourselves over to the lord so that he can shape us into being able to 'run the race of life' with joy and faith. It's such a moving analogy that I identify with completely each and every year as marathon day comes around. As Hebrews (12:1-2) so powerfully says, "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." If, or should I say WHEN I do run a marathon, I know this passage would play in my mind as it would be a true accomplishment for me in more ways than one. We'll see if this time next year I'll be posting full marathon photos vs. half. ;)

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