"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.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Race Day Reflections - ROCC 5K 2017

The sixth annual ROCC 5K has come and gone. This past Saturday, months of planning culminated in an event that technically took between 15 minutes - 51 seconds and 1 hour - 14 minutes - 11 seconds to complete, depending on which end of the clock you ran toward.

As I finished my post-race run, I couldn't help but think about the perspective which I am truly blessed to hold each second Saturday in May. To watch my fellow Run for God members, many of whom are running their first 5K, cross that finish line, and to assist a great team of race committee members, where serving our beneficiary and our community are equal priorities, are both great privileges that I don't take for granted.

So, given the dual views I am allowed to have, as coach and director, what did the 2017 edition of the ROCC 5K teach me? Here are a few thoughts on a few of those observations ...

* It doesn't rain on the ROCC 5K! The forecasts were not too optimistic in the days leading up to the race. However, Saturday morning was near perfect, with temperatures in the mid-50's and not a drop of moisture. I'm sure one day we might enjoy the pleasure of running in the rain, but as of yet, the Lord has provided some really wonderful mornings across these past six years, and an optimistic position, even at packet pickup when everyone says your crazy, is still the best position to take!

* The pre-race RFG Photo  remains as emotional as ever. The feelings from May 12, 2012, are never far away when we line up each year for that victory cheer. It never fails that the emotions of the past 13 weeks - the laughs, the struggles, the stories - all come out in this space. I look into the mass of color and see your faces, and BAM, all choked up. I continue to hold it in much better than year one, but just barely. I can't explain it, and I honestly never expect it, but it happens. Thank you all for believing in yourself.

* "Don't mess with success!" That's what many might say. But as one who actually kind of likes taking calculated risks, I say, "Tweak success, to remain successful!" With that philosophy in mind, we made a few slightly risky changes to the course and, by all indications, the changes worked. The track, both part-novelty and part-purposeful, along with the elimination of Sedalia Hill and a stroll past Titan Rock, all seemed to have helped spread out runners along L-C Road and flatten the course. Obviously, it is still just as fast, or faster, as our five-time champion, Justin Pfreunder, set a new course record, 15:51. Thank you to all the course support volunteers and the runners and walkers who were ready to roll with these modifications.

* Smiles are contagious. One of the key principles for our event, a principle that is modeled so well by our committee and our volunteers, is that we strive to put on a race that is best known for 'encouragement and excellence.' We believe that both of these can, and should, be the expectation. As a gauge for how we are doing, I watch faces and post-race interactions. I also like to look at the post-race photos. Each race bib represents an individual who is most likely dealing with at least one "something" that is really pretty messy. One "something" that physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, is a real stressor and challenge. But for one encouraging moment, a little "run therapy" helps to lessen that burden.

There are more thoughts, but who needs to read a novel about a 5K! For now, we close the books on the RFG Season 6 and the ROCC Crisis Control Ministry 5K. Thanks for sharing in our day.

"We should laugh, we should think, we should be moved to emotion --- that is a really great day" (Jimmy V. paraphrased).

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