My little brother, Don Lichi, 57, completed his 10th marathon on Saturday, Sept. 26 in Akron, Ohio.
He says this is his last one...we'll see!
Approximately 10,000 people from all walks of life came to participate in the various races, which included a 1/2 marathon, and a relay race.
In case you didn't know, a marathon is 26.2 miles. Don finished the race in 4 hours, 52 minutes (4:52). 1500 people set out to do the 26.2 mile marathon. Of the 1431 people who finished, the average time was 4:21. The longest time was 6:40.
The first place winner of the race was a 27 year old man from Kenya, whose time was 2:27...not the world's record, but not too far from it! How amazing is that?! This man is in the United States to run a couple races in hopes of taking the prize money back home to his family. He picked up $2000 in Akron.
The Bible uses the analogy of running a race many times to illustrate how we should live our lives while on this earth. One of my favorite verses is this one, which is a quotation of Paul from one of his letters to his protege, Timothy. He was chained up in a dreary prison at the time, and knew he was near the end of his life:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day..." (II Timothy 3:7)
Paul is looking back over his years of laboring for the sake of the Gospel, as an athlete who has given his all for the prize.
Now, my brother knew before he started this marathon that he would not even come close to being the fastest runner. He did not let that discourage him from running the race, however, and striving to finish it, in spite of an injured calf. Nor did it bother him that he was 30 years older than the man with the fastest time. He was running according to his own abilities. After months of training and discipline, the satisfaction of finishing well according to his ability was his reward. It was a worthy goal for him. The same can be said, I'm quite sure, of the person who finished with the longest time. What mattered was getting into the race, and doing the very best they could, and with that comes the satisfaction of finishing well.
Isn't that just like life? We all have different abilities and talents. What are we doing with them? We don't need to compare ourselves with others...but we can be developing and using the skills that we each have been uniquely gifted with. That is a worthy goal. And the prize will be, at the end of our lives, to hear those coveted words, "well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:23).
Way to go, Don! You are, as always, an inspiration to so many...both in running the marathon 10 times, and in the race of life.