Recently I read about a half marathon race run in Bangkok, Thailand.
You may know that the distance of a half marathon is 13.1 miles. While it’s not nearly the distance of a full marathon (26.2 miles), I still have a hard time getting my mind around running thirteen miles.
What made this half marathon in Bangkok so significant is that the race organizers measured the distance incorrectly. Instead of marking off 13.1 miles, they set the course for 17 miles!
I tried to consider how I would feel if that happened to me. After all, they didn’t miss the distance by a few hundred yards or even a mile. They missed it by four miles. I regularly run four miles. I know what it takes out of me. I simply cannot imagine what an extra four miles would be like after you’ve already run 13 miles.
Part of me says that maybe I would be proud to know I could run 17 miles, but most of me says I would be angry about such a mistake.
That is exactly how most of the runners felt. They were not pleased with running the extra 4 miles.
The race organizers rightly apologized for their mistake, but then they compounded the problem by offering each participant a T-shirt to make up for the mistake. That gesture didn’t make the runners happy, either.
Interestingly, the Bible describes our life in Christ as a race. The race we have entered is a marathon not a sprint. We are called to run the race with integrity and to persevere to the very end. We don’t know how long the race will be, but we know we have been called to persevere. We also know that God will be with us all along the way.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).
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