Story of the Day for Wednesday December 21, 2011
Hang in There, Be Brave, and Keep Moving
. . . Let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us.
The marathon is the most grueling race in the Olympics. But there is a race in Australia called the toughest race in the world. The Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon is a race of 544 miles. If it helps, just think of it as more than twenty back-to-back marathons.
In 1983, the world’s toughest athletes gathered for the race. Promoter John Toleman put up $10,000 for the winner. Toleman’s friend, George Perdon was the world’s best long-distance runner, and Toleman wanted to recognize his amazing ability.
The start of the race that year will be remembered for the amusement it provided. Of all things, a 61-year-old farmer, Cliff Young, registered for the race and put on bib number 64. Cliff looked especially comical wearing his farm overalls, with big galoshes over his work boots (he thought it might start raining).
The starting gun went off, and 150 runners exploded from the starting line. Without minutes, Cliff was left behind. To say he “runs” may be a stretch – it’s more of a loping shuffle.
Among the world’s best runners, a marathon is over in a couple hours. But these world-class ultra-marathon runners race an unbelievable 18 hours a day. And, they continue this punishing pace for a week.
Runners of this caliber are sponsored by the top athletic companies. They have coaches, trainers, and a support crew to provide food and medical care along the course.
And then we have old Cliff Young, who had no coach and whose “support crew” was his 81-year-old mother.
Okay, so Cliff Young is a shuffling old guy among the world’s best runners. Still, don’t you admire the guy fore even entering a race like this?
Actually, you can admire him for more than starting the race. After 18 hours, when the other racers got a mere six hours of sleep before hitting the course again, Cliff just kept on running. He got two hours of sleep. Later, he would run around the clock.
By running through the night, Cliff not only caught up to the frontrunners, he won the race! He finished in 5 days, 15 hours, and 4 minutes . . . and trimmed almost two days off the previous record.
Only five other runners finished the race. Young took the $10,000 prize money (intended for George Perdon, who finished second) and gave each of the other finishers $2000 – keeping none for himself.
Your life is like a long-distance race. The Lord has a course marked out for you. But, he’s not looking for speed. Instead, he encourages you to run with perseverance. Just hang in there, be brave, and keep moving.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)