Hearing the roar and cheer of over 2,000 people accompanied by the footsteps of yours and those around. Out of nowhere the corner is rounded to match the noise with bodies and visible encouragement, the unspoken knowledge as well as feeling is that this is the moment. This moment defines the past 22 minutes. The strides get bigger and the breath gets heavier. The mind and body start to focus and run off of pure adrenaline. The focus on that finish line and the one guy left ahead. Pushing harder and harder even when the energy reserves seem to be depleted. The line is crossed and there is partial relief and some aspects of “What if?”.
This past weekend was the 15th annual Jared Coones 5K Pumpkin Run/Walk. This was my 2nd time participating under the 2 year head sponsor team of MNU. This being my 3rd 5K
I am obviously a pro…..okay definitely far from! However, this is the one I came the most prepared for. Throughout the week, the forecast seemed to predict my despising of the cold and dropped in temperature day after day. My utility belt the day of the race contained a jacket, long johns, beanie, ear muffs, another hoodie, nasal spray, cough medicine, another shirt, and gloves. Needless to say my body and mind feared “44 and cloudy”, yet I was prepared.
Besides the fact I was more prepared, this race was also different because of my blog about the same event last year. At the annual MNU community fair this year, Jared’s dad and Jayne’s husband, Tom approached me and expressed the gratefulness for what I had wrote. This seems so simple, yet it was powerful. Powerful because it proved that this blog outreach for MNU goes beyond our gorgeous campus, but into the lives of many. Also, it proved the sincerity of this man. He has been through so much and is still so selfless enough to give gratitude to a young man who wrote a blog.
I can imagine that I wasn’t the only one who has asked, “What if?” when it comes to a race and this race specifically. Tom Coones has got to be one of my inspirations that definitely continues to tug on my heart strings. This event has gone from simply hundreds of attendants to a record number of 3, 583 race participants. It may be ignorant of me to infer, but I have to think that Tom has faced the breakdown in his own mind of battling with powerful questions similar to, “What if?”. Obviously he has been encouraged and answered those questions with a hopeful heart. A huge heart at that.
Tom’s life was not defined by a moment just as the fact I didn’t catch that darn guy in the blue shirt did not define my success. Success is not win and lose,
seems contradictory right?, it is defined by what you say it is. I ran a personal best and finished 7th in my age bracket. Plus, I was met with nothing but love from my MNU family and maybe a hand-fed cupcake from Nate Howard. It was a successful day, except at Baker University….
The gain and success in this event has not been based on the loss of lives, but found in the living on of those same lives through more than 3,583 people who challenge themselves and fight to find a cure and stand behind a great man who is Tom Coones.
Keep on and keep God,