Sunday, February 19, 2006

TOPIC: Myrtle Beach Marathon... and a lesson learned
I had the pleasure of working with the 9th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon yesterday. My function, along with that of several other amateur radio operators, was to provide communications support to the medical staff and marathon organizers. As I often do, I tried to make the experience one where I could serve the community and learn from what was going on around me.
God taught me... or should I say re-taught me that people are different; they are not to be pre-judged based on looks or clothing style. People should also be given a chance beyond the "first impression".
Case in point -- there were approximately 9,000 runners in the events that make up the Myrtle Beach Marathon. As I watched more than 7,000 of those folks run/ride by my post, I was amazed to see the various body makeups of these folks. I pre-judged some that came by at the four-mile mark (on the other side of the road). I picked the chubbier and older runners as folks who "will not make it".
I laughed at a few of the young "hotties" who I pre-judged as only being out there to show-off their bods. No way these girls would put enough effort into running; no way they would break a real sweat; no way would these girls be serious enough to finish the entire 26 miles. The same judgement was made about the 40-somethings who had obviously had plastic-surgery -- "plas-tits" as I call them.
Well, to make a long story short, I ate crow! Several times over. Our assigned post was also used for mile fourteen and mile twenty-five. At mile fourteen, many of the strongest looking runners were now walking. Some of those I pre-judged (chubby, older, hottie, plas-tits) were still moving right along. A couple of hours later, as the diehards were coming by mile twenty-five, I realized that some of the participants I had pre-judged earlier were still in the race. Yes, some were walking, BUT they had stuck with it. They were going to finish the race!
The lesson - God made all of us in His image. Contrary to advertising & Hollywood, we do not have to look a certain way. We do have to be determined and committed. We have to run the race in the way God intended. As such, we CAN finish the race -- and it really doesn't matter what other folks think about us. We are NOT defined by those people (as I labelled or "defined" runners). God gave Believers a name. He defined us. We are His Children.

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