Refill with Randy – Friends gave spark to finish a tough race

Posted 16 June 2024 at 7:52 am

By Randy LeBaron

Good afternoon! Grab your favorite cup. Fill it up. And let’s start this week right… TOGETHER!!!

This past week while I was watching several family members and friends cross the finish line at the Strawberry Fest 5K and got a little nostalgic, so today’s article will be a throw back to an earlier one.

Back in 2011 when some members of my church decided to start a Couch to 5K program for the community called “Run 4 God.

Some of you may have participated as it was very popular at the time. The goal was to get people physically fit in time to finish the Strawberry Fest 5K. As the pastor I felt like I should be supportive and take part but, as someone who was out of shape and had never felt the desire to run without being chased, I was also dreading the process. Sure enough, it was a hard-fought battle but come June I ran the race and even beat the Strawberry! And just like that I was hooked.

I continued to train with friends and increased my distance. By the end of the summer one of my favorite routes was to run from my home to Albion Free Methodist Church, which was exactly 3.1 miles (5K), where I would meet up with a friend to run the Strawberry Fest 5K route and then I would continue back home. I found that I actually enjoyed running longer distances, so much so that when some friends invited me to run the Hospice Dash Half-Marathon with them that September I accepted. I was feeling pretty confident having ran 10 miles a couple of times already and figured one more 5K (13.1 miles total) added to the end would not be that big of a deal.

Fast forward to September 24th when I am running with a crowd through Fort Niagara, exactly halfway to the finish line at exactly the 1-hour mark. I was feeling fantastic and then, a little while later when the Runmeter App on my phone said I had hit the 10-mile mark ahead of schedule, I was even more elated!

But then it happened, after running almost 2 miles more I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw the “You made it 10 Miles!” sign and realized that my app must have been malfunctioning. I still had 3.1 miles to go and it felt like forever. I just stood there feeling like my feet were stuck in tar and all the thirst and pain I was able to ignore when I thought I was almost done overtook me and made it difficult to walk let alone run. Eventually I got moving again and sputtered along for the next couple of miles but when I still could not see the finish line I stopped again feeling exhausted and discouraged. And that is when my friends showed up.

Having already finished the race well ahead of me my friends had run back to where I was and started cheering me on and telling me that the end was not far off. As they ran side by side with me, I picked up the pace and soon enough I was crossing the finish line with a still respectable 2:24 time. What my friends did for me was they gave me hope and they let me know that the end really was in sight which helped me to persevere and finish the race. No matter what you are going through in life I pray that you will have friends to come alongside you and remind you that the end is in sight. Keep pressing on!!!

See you in two weeks!
Pastor Randy