I wept the first time I crossed the finish line at my first marathon, the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon. I wept the first time I finished an ultra distance, my personal 50 miler on my 50th birthday in 2014. I wept the first time I actually finished an ultra marathon, the 2015 Antelope Butte 50K after DNFing a race three weeks before. There is something about finish lines that make my eyes leak and cause water to drip down my cheeks. I believe it is because as a person working a full-time job and training for ultra marathons there is a lot of sacrifice that goes into the training. When everybody else is sleeping in I’m up at 5 AM to get a 5-8 miler in before work, I’m skipping lunch so I can get a 4-6 miler in at lunch time. I’m skipping TV so I can get a core workout in during the evenings or going for another run. Instead of going to the ballgame or hanging out for beers with friends on Saturday I’m off on a 6-8-10 hour run exploring mountain trails and wearing myself out and then turning around on Sunday to get that back to back long run in. So when I am able to cross that finish line, it isn’t every single race, usually just the first hard one of the year I know that I have accomplished something really incredible and that the common things in life will never be the same. There’s something about that FINISH banner above the last timing mat that as you cross it that your entire body, mind and spirit let out a big sigh of relief because you have accomplished a goal that seemed oh so far away when you set it.
There are two things that I want to hear as I cross the finish line of life (hopefully when I’m 126, 74 years from this day). The first is from Matthew 25:21 “….Well done, good and faithful servant!” and the second is from 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” There will be many finish lines in our lives and it is important that we stay focused on the attitude of our finishes. Every finish that you have in life should be because you have trained and disciplined yourself to be able to cross that line and as you cross it you will sense the spirit of relief of a job well done, a faith well-kept. You may not always look the best when you cross the finish line, that is part of the fight but the ability to cross that finish line means that you went beyond the ordinary to carry out the extraordinary. Someday when your days on this earth are finished you will cross the ultimate finish line and rising to greet you will be the King of All Ultra Runners, the One, the Risen Savior and when He greets you that day my greatest prayer for you will be that you hear these words in that still small voice, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Living an ultra life means there will be many finish lines in your life and that with each and every single one that you will have the feeling of having accomplished something major and that you will always hear the words “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”