He’s Achieving His Goal – 50 in 50
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” —Isaiah 40:29–31
This scripture came alive this morning when I gave it to my son on a card. He’ll need those words in just a short while as he runs his 50th 26.2 mile marathon that starts at 6:30 am this morning. This one is the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Ryan’s goal for years was to complete 50 full marathons within his 50 years of life and this one here in Oklahoma City is especially meaningful because he graduated high school here and Shawntel is a former Miss Oklahoma and Miss America and a life-sized bronze statute was sculpted to honor her and two other Miss Americas who attended Oklahoma City University. We’ll stop by to see it later today. Ryan turned 50 last July. He’s accomplishing that goal today. We’re here to cheer him on. We’ll have our t-shirts, signs, noisemakers and strategic locations to be at throughout his run.
After completing several triathlons in 2006, he ran his first 26.2-miler in the New York City Marathon. My sweetheart, Ryan’s dad, was with him at that one and I told Ryan, yesterday, that he’s still here for him running alongside him in this one. Ryan doesn’t run to win. He competes against himself — to finish. He is the winner of every race he runs. He’s just that driven, determined, no quit kind-of-guy.
On May 1st, 2011, after training for six months, I ran the Half Marathon in this same Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It was a feat that was inspired by my husband’s passing just six months earlier. He was paralyzed in the last months of life. He couldn’t run, but since I was told that my son got his long legs from me, I gave it all I had to “memorialize my sweetheart AND all those who had lost their lives in the bombing on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. We went to the memorial yesterday and walked through the inspiring grounds and museum located at the bombing site. The timing seemed to be orchestrated by God when we walked through the 168 chairs that memorialize those who lost their lives – small ones that represented the children and large ones that represented the adults. We walked to a small chair that had a stuffed teddy bear on it and we saw a woman changing out a pin that was on the bear, with her two children. I asked if she knew this child that this chair represents, and she said, “Yes, I’m his mother.” Immediately, all of us couldn’t hold back the tears that brought reality of what happened to a dear family. This mother exuded the peace of God. I could see she had been on a marathon of her own – carrying on with dignity and joy – which brings meaning to her loss.
Everyone who lost their lives on that tragic day, as well as all of us who remain, have a voice and a life that is to be run with meaning and purpose. Some of us will cross our finish line earlier than others, but it will be a race that we were supposed to run. I won’t be running today, but I’ll sure be one of those remembering and memorializing the runners and what they’re running for.
Whether we are running or walking our race, it’s easy to be tempted to go through life competing with everyone around us. When we see someone who seems to have more in talents, looks, wealth and instead of running our race and being comfortable with who we are, oftentimes, we feel inferior and think, “I’ve got to catch up to them or I’ve got to go further and faster than them.” That’s called competition and what we are asked to do is to be the best and do the best we possibly can with what God has given to us. That’s when we’ll have all the resources of heaven to finish strong – mounting up with wings as eagles, walking and running to our finish line! When we focus on being who God made us to be, that’s when we’ll rise up higher and be positioned for winning and conquering our race.