I did it! I completed the Chicago Marathon. My goal was to do it in less than 5 hours and my official time was 4 hours and 28 minutes. It was a great run, on a great day, in a great city, with great weather, running for a great cause! I will never forget the experience.
The official length of a marathon is 26.2 miles. So often, when people talk about marathons, they will say it is 26 miles. I always correct them and say, “No, it is 26.2 miles.” If you have never run long distances, you might think there is little difference between 26 and 26.2 miles, but for those who do run, the .2 makes a big difference. In fact, the .2 is over 350 yards (the length of over three football fields). So, no matter how insignificant .2 miles may seem, it is vital in order to complete the marathon. If you stop running after 26 miles, you fail to finish, and all those other miles are meaningless.
As I have reflected on the marathon, one thing that struck me was that sometimes when you think you are finished, you realize you still have .2 to go, and as I said, in order to be considered an official finisher of the marathon, you have to complete the .2! As I passed the 26 mile sign during my marathon, I found myself asking, “How silly and foolish would it be if I just stopped right now?” I was tired, hurting, and ready to be finished, but I knew that in order to complete the marathon, I had to go the final .2. The reality is, the .2 matters and a marathon runner cannot forget that.
In life, the .2 matters as well. So often we find ourselves running the “race of life,” and think there is no way we will be able to keep going. We get tired, frustrated, and ready to quit, when in reality, there is only .2 more to go, so to speak. Just as it would have been foolish for me to quit with only .2 left, it is foolish not to finish the “race of life” you are running. We cannot forget the .2 and that the .2 really does matter.
Wherever you are in life today, remember this, you can make it and you will make it! The Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us. Truly, in the strength God provides, you can endure anything. He will give you what you need for the WHOLE race, even the final .2. If you are ready to quit today, don’t! If you feel like you cannot go on, look to the Lord. As you run your race, the .2 can look overwhelming, but remember, when you finish, you will be glad you kept running. Let me leave you with one final passage of Scripture: “…the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day… (2 Timothy 4:6-8).” In other words, keep running and finish well. Don’t forget the .2! See you next week.