"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

ROCC The Potter's House 5k

Coordinating a road race is a pretty simple endeavor.  Simple, but far from easy. On Saturday, May 12th, River Oaks Community Church hosted an inaugural 5k.  Fortunate enough to be on a core group of extremely talented and hard working race coordinators, I now have an even greater appreciation for those events that go off without a hitch year after year. This race experience, coupled with the incredibly moving Run For God study & training group of the past 13 weeks, has provided a lifetime of memories and joy-filled thoughts. Below are just a few of the ones that standout:

* Having the time of my life every Monday evening with our Run For God group. Over 100 "runners" committed to completing a 5k challenge, while strengthening their faith around a shared purpose.  By trusting the plan for physical training, most of this group went from struggling through a 60 second walk / jog initial workout to running 3.1 miles on race day.  By trusting His plan for spiritual training, our group uncovered truths relative to endurance, counting the costs and doing all to His glory.

* The weather was beautiful, the course was fast, the event was a huge success.  Over 420 registrations for a first time event is phenomenal.  Given the feedback, next year's event will grow, and will likely be capped, maybe around 500.  Running on Lewisville-Clemmons Road is awesome, but it will eventually be too congested.  Let's grow wisely.
A great morning to start a race (exactly on time, I might add)
* Observing how a small army came together for several causes; the race (Potter's House), the classic car show / yard sale (Kenyan Summer Block Party) and the Friday night Spaghetti Dinner (Youth Missions).  There was also the kid’s fun zone, childcare for the race, raffles, silent auctions and concessions (excellent chicken sandwiches by the way). Truly amazing team pulling this all off for a great Outreach Saturday.

* Hopefully not in an obnoxious way, but having a bullhorn near the finish line was sooooo much fun!

* Having access to the Active.com website with "behind the scenes" pages was very interesting.  Our registration coordinator did an incredible job and provided me the instructions for entrance to the secret passage for statistical inquiries and searches; very cool!

* The first annual coordinator / volunteer 5k, approximately 1.5 hours after the official race finished. About ten of us took a nice, leisurely run from start to finish of the course. Long after the cones had been removed and most of the runners had gone home. An absolutely perfect way to decompress and debrief. Taken from the tradition of Boston Marathon director, Dave Mcgillivray, we will look to do this again next year; loved it.

A few of the “Post-5k, 5K” group!
Alright, as you can imagine, there are so many great moments from Saturday that I can't possibly continue this list without crossing over from 'blog' to 'published non-fiction'. But let me leave you with one that will surely be tucked away, deep in my soul, for as long as God intends me to continue this journey.

Mrs. Running With Horses heading down the course
The moment was short.  It was unexpected and spontaneous. Our RFG group photo was taken and we had 11 minutes remaining to race time.  I asked that our group gather 'round for a time of prayer.  Just as I was about to ask that we bow our heads, a victory shout of praise was lifted high. (I won't mention names, but trust me, I still see and hear you very clearly. Thank you.)  This created a chain reaction of clapping and cheering and laughing and "I don't know what all,"(my favorite Andy Griffith line), but that's when it struck me. I scanned our group and it was almost as if all the smiling faces, and the individual stories, and the accomplishments, and the setbacks and the personal testimonies of the past 13 weeks, had morphed into one collective spirit. I can still see this.

A Shared Moment
Long story, just a bit longer ..... at that moment I understood what it meant to feel God's pleasure. The past few months, and in particular, the past 24 hours, had been non-stop. Go, go, go, go. At that very moment, it was if God was saying that this was the purpose for which we had come together. Not that the race wasn't a good goal, but that we had met in His name and had sought to honor Him, that was the objective. He allowed us to enjoy the joy in that accomplishment first.

Anyway, I about lost it and blubbered through our final group prayer. A few high fives, a few hugs, a few more pointers, and we were off to the starting line. From that point on, I was on cloud nine.  Every time a RFG'er would enter that final stretch, it brought a smile. What a day.  In fact, it was such a day that my post-race facebook entry went something like this:

Every once in a while there’s a day, a moment, an event. So “Mountain Top” that you know it will be close to you for the remainder of your life. Not many of them, just a few so that they are extra special. Thank you ROCC RFG’ers. Today was one of them. Today was the day (Psalm 118:24).

A few additional shots:

Doug & Dr. Wiggy (Doug has lost over 200lbs this past year!)
In the spirit of this Olympic year - a podium awards ceremony
No, he didn’t run the 5k!

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