Approximately 25,000 people representing over 75 countries filled the streets of Miami last weekend for the annual Miami Marathon/Half Marathon race. Samuel Kipkosgei Malakwen of Kenya took home the prize as the winner of the male marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 46 seconds. Mariska Kramer Postma of the Netherlands finished the women marathon in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 28 seconds, winning the race two years in a row! Wow!
As I looked out the window last Sunday morning, I saw these thousands of people lined up and filled with excitement; ready to take on the challenge of doing something most people only dream of doing. Some were successful at completing the challenge set and finished the race; but the aftermath for some was grave. Loud sirens from the ambulance echoed in the streets as many were put on stretchers and taken away – some from injuries and others just pure exhaustion.
I am no expert at marathons, since quite frankly I have never done one and I am not sure I would have the guts or the stamina to do one. The longest race I ran was a 10k, and by the 4 mile marker I literally felt like I was going to die. A friend had convinced me to do that race, and when race day came I did not feel as ready as I should have been. Looking back, I am not sure how I finished that race but I did. It was more the mental determination that drove my body to the finish line. That, for me, was a huge accomplishment.
However, several of my friends run half-marathons and marathons. I have so much admiration and respect for them. There is a certain level of training, dedication, and will power that is necessary to pound 26.2 miles of pavement and finish the race. From my conversations with them over the years, the ultimate goal in doing these races is not to win the race, the ultimate goal is to FINISH!
A beloved law school professor at Georgia was often quoted for saying “law school is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” He was right. I will take it a step further and say “life is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” To be successful, we have to take life in strides, we have to pace ourselves, we have to train, we have to be dedicated, and we must have the will power and stamina necessary to overcome the obstacles we will inevitably face. We have to take things one mile at a time; one day at a time.
Most importantly, however, we have to surround ourselves with positive people who will lift our spirits. Cheerleaders, of sorts, who will cheer us on to finish this race!
Have a wonderful Saturday!