In January I accepted the challenge of 2,019 miles in the year 2019—this week I crossed that finish line and to my surprise I still have a month and a half! This challenge equates to 5.5 miles a day; 38.8 miles a week; 168.3 miles a month. I do not share this to boast (okay maybe a little bit) but rather to share the wonderful feeling you have when you accomplish a goal—when you finish the race. Yes, during that path there were struggles and pain, but this journey has been life-changing for me.
Some of these miles were accomplished doing a job where at times I felt my feet were going to protest and quit. Some were accomplished with training runs where I felt my whole body was going to protest and quit. Some were accomplished with people I love and admire in official races where I was so joyful and thankful to be part of the experience.
Reflecting on those 2019 miles the journey was quite interesting. I got to run the outfield warning track at Kauffman Stadium; finish on the 50-yard line at Arrowhead; share wonderful experiences with my wife Cilla who finished her first 10K and half-marathon; commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing dedicating it to my grandson Oliver; take my other grandson, Tristan, through the KC Zoo and complete the 23.2 mile Camelot run to honor his first birthday; carry a 50-pound jug of water for 6K with some dear brothers; and most recently conquered the hills of the KC Marathon to help provide safe drinking water to children in need.
In all these races I never crossed the finish line first; quite honestly, I was never even close. I always joke with myself in the long runs that the first-place finisher is home, showered, and having lunch before I even finish. But I run the best I can to receive the prize. But my prize is not a medal. My prize is to finish and most importantly to glorify God in what I am doing.
One aspect I cherish about running is I find it to be quality time with God. Yes, I pray a lot while running. Sometimes those prayers are for strength to get me through the challenge but most often I just have a conversation with God without the distractions of the world. The finish line I am striving for is the one of eternity. 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
I am confident that someday I will cross that finish line with arms raised in victory and will hear “Well done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23)! There is no gold medal that even comes close—I pray that I will see you at that finish line!