Man, I love this story. Jon really crushed his marathon, telling me he was able to sprint to the finish line. WTG, Jon.
Before I started running, I was convinced that my runner friends and I were completely different. One night, we had dinner with a couple of friends. He was a runner, she was not. Even though it was a few years ago, I remember the weather like it was yesterday. It was a classic Minnesota Fall day, and the rain wasn’t far from turning into sleet. I remember this detail because when I asked my runner friend about his day, his answer didn’t make any sense. With a big smile, he told me about his “short” 3-mile run in the rain before coming to our house. As a non-runner, the idea of running in the rain — especially icy cold rain — for more than a few seconds from the car to the house seemed more like reason for concern than celebration. After saying something awkward like, “I never run, but I always take the stairs at work,” we both laughed and changed the subject.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran my first race ever: the Twin Cities Marathon. The last 6 miles of this marathon are notorious for the dreaded Summit Hill. It was painful. It was challenging. It was amazing.
When Jen first asked me to write about why I run, the answer came quickly. I was running because my friend, Bradley, from Team World Vision convinced me that this was a life-changing way to provide clean water for kids in East Africa. And provide clean water, we did! Along with about 500 other runners in the Twin Cities, we raised over $300,000 for the project. But as I started writing my story, I hit the wall. This wasn’t the true reason I was running. Running for kids was noble and inspiring, but it only gave me a reason to commit. It wasn’t truly what kept me going.
After that realization came, I was confronted with a flood of reasons. My dad died in a tragic
car accident when I was 2 years old. With a history of heart disease in my family, I run so I can be around for my daughters as long as possible. By last January, my weight had hit a lifetime high that had pushed me into the obese category. When I reached the finish line this October, I was 40 pounds lighter and healthier than I’ve been for years. Lots of people were supportive, but I could tell that some of my friends and family never thought I’d actually run the marathon. It was a chance to prove them wrong while accepting a major challenge.
To be completely honest, though, I don’t only run for kids in Africa, my own kids, my health, or even to prove myself to others. Those are (mostly) great reasons, but there is one thing that gets me out the door more than anything else: bridges. I run for that moment when I’m all alone, suspended high above the Mississippi River. I run because it’s where I am overtaken by the silence where Peace resides. It’s in that moment that I am struck by the beauty of my city and of God’s creation, and I become aware again of the great power I’ve been given.