I am not entirely sure how this happened, but over the past couple of years I have taken to going for a run as my preferred form of exercise. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here. I am not overly athletic, or have the physique that would indicate that I am an avid runner. It is more that if I am going to do some exercise then running seems to be the activity I engage with currently. In a good week I will run 4 mornings for 3 – 4 kms each time. Olympic marathon contender I am not, but I am proud of the fact that I can run that distance without stopping. My pace is not fast, but it is consistent.
So for the past 4 weeks I have been participating in our brand new local Parkrun. This is a free, timed, 5km event held in communities across the world and I wrote about our launch event a few weeks ago. At the launch I was one of the volunteer marshals, but since then I have been running the course. This has caused me some mental issues, because I know I can run 3km and 4km without stopping, but 5km is a new distance for me.
My strategy has been to run for at least the first 3.2kms and then on and off until the 4km mark where I determine to run all the way for the last kilometre. Sometimes that last 1000 metres can feel like 10,000!! It’s not pretty, I usually look like a cooked beetroot when I cross that finish line, but I always run over the line.
Something quite unusual and surprising happened this last Parkrun. Just a few seconds after I crossed the line I had another runner that finished after me come up and thank me. She told me I was her inspiration to keep going on the course. She told me that she walked when I walked and she ran when I ran. I was totally taken by surprise. You see, I remembered overtaking her at about the 2km mark, and to consider that someone was watching and following me all that time was quite confronting. I initially was unsure how to respond, but I managed an embarrassed ‘thanks’ and the encounter left me intrigued and (if I’m honest) just a little bit proud.
To think that I, a 51 year old not very fit wife and mother of 3, would be the athletic inspiration to a complete stranger is something beyond belief. All that aside, it has caused me to consider the fact that at any time we don’t know who is watching us and using us as an example to follow. Jesus encouraged us to be a light for others to follow. In the book of Matthew chapter 5 and verse 16 he says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As you go about your life this week, remember to live a life worth watching.