I love running but it happened by accident. When I turned 30 a few years ago short while ago, I felt like I was getting old. I always had this phobia of getting fat and out of shape. So I started running. I bought a treadmill from a yard sale and I ran almost every day. I really thought I was doing a good job until someone told me that I wasn't really "running" because I was on a treadmill and that actual running was more intense. I was like "yeah, right". Well, he was right. I ran a few times off the treadmill and discovered new muscles I never had (and I found out I couldn't run a mile without praying-literally asking Jesus to help me keep from dying). Fast forward a few years and now I run a 5k (about 3 miles) a few times a week.
I've run in about 8 or 9 local races over the past few years and I have placed in the top 5-10% of those who participated. Most recently, I ran a race that is hosted by my school to honor one of our former coworkers that lost her battle with cancer. This race is just under 2 miles and one of my former students (let's just call him "John") asked me if he could run with me. I said, "of course; as long as you're going to push me" and push me he did! John constantly encouraged me and gave me the inspiration needed to keep me running at my pace.
What I've learned about running is that every time I've run a race in a group, I've always crushed my time (5k record time of 22:02-not too shabby). But I've never, EVER come close to that time running alone. Although I've tried over and over again, I just can't do it. Why not? It's because I have no one to support me, I have no one "cheering me on", I have no one running with me, I can't draw strength from anyone around, and it's really tough!
Life is the same way. When you're running the race of life, you can't run alone. You won't reach your full potential if you don't have someone cheering you on, someone you can draw strength from, or someone to hold you accountable. You just can't do it. Of course you can get by with just being average but trust me, you will run farther, longer, and faster if you have a group of "running buddies". If you don't have any, simply ask God to send you a few and He will.
Written 10/8/2013 by John Weaver