I developed a tolerance for running in high school. I played basketball and our coach loved to make us run drills…a lot! I realized that if I was going to be a good basketball player, I’d better learn to handle the running part.
One of my friends hates running, but was a college athlete. She told me, “This is why I focused on softball. You run 60 feet, and then you stop. If you hit the ball far enough, you can just trot.” She worked very hard at hitting the ball far.
Running up and down a court with the goal of making a basket is one thing. Running to complete a race…now that’s something entirely different! I admire people who run in marathons. One thing that I admire most about them is their drive and perseverance to not only finish the race, but, to train. They train and they train so that when they are in the middle of a marathon, they can push all the way to the end; push through obstacles that may be in their way and finish strong.
Perseverance is a true character quality. If you do something and it’s easy… it’s easy. Perseverance comes into play when discouragement or obstacles find their way onto your path.
In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, there was a British athlete, Derek Redmond, expected to break records and bring home a medal in the 400 m dash. He had been plagued with injuries throughout his career, but worked diligently to recover and build his hamstring injury back to a full recovery. The stage was set! He was fit and ready. The starting gun sounded and his pace was strong. And then, about 100 meters into the race, Derek pulls up grabbing the back of his right leg. His hamstring had torn. He quickly went to his knees on the track. After a few moments, and, clearly in excruciating pain, Derek stood up and began to hobble. But, he didn’t hobble off of the track! Instead, he hobbled toward the finish line.
Why? I’m sure those who were watching may have thought for a moment, “Just stop running. It’s over.” Derek didn’t think such things. Here’s a guy, who trained his whole life for this moment. In this moment, when he felt his hamstring rip, he could have called it good while lying there on that track. But, that wasn’t good enough for Derek. He came to the Olympics for one purpose: To cross the finish line in an Olympic race.
There was a drive, a push inside of him. He was on a mission and nothing was going to stop him. But what’s amazing? The story doesn’t stop here.
As Derek began to hobble, there was a man in the crowd who feverishly began to make his way down to the track. The man? Derek’s father. He ran onto the track and whispered into Derek’s ear, “Let’s finish this together.” And together, they pushed to the finish line in one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history.
Derek could have remained on the ground, his muscle torn, and thought, “It’s too hard now, just quit.” But he didn’t!
I wonder if Derek could have finished by himself that day? I don’t know. But I know this – – Derek had drive. And, with a little help from dad, he overcame an amazing obstacle and pushed on to the very end!
So, when it comes to your life, how are you responding to the obstacles? Has doubt crept in? Does life seem overwhelming? Maybe you need to admit that you too need the help of someone who will come alongside you, encourage you to keep pushing, and say, “Let’s finish this together.”
It’s okay to admit when you need a little help, a little pick-me-up. If you need help, ask for it. And, when you do, I am confident you will find that it’s a whole lot better than hobbling off the track of life and simply giving up.