I did it!

If I may toot my own horn, I ran in the Gum Tree 10K race here in Tupelo on Saturday. Like the Apostle Paul, “I finished my course.” And I ran the whole distance. Actually, I’m quite proud of myself. There were nearly 1,200 runners, and I placed 419th, running the 6.2 miles in 1.07.42.

It was a very neat experience. Along the route, there were people lining the streets cheering us on. Of course, the water brigade was handing us the cups without us missing a stride. I even had some personal fans at the finish line to congratulate me. I know that I’m bragging, but I checked the results board, and there were only 20 participants that were older than I am that beat my time. Not bad, huh? I figure if I can lose another 15 pounds, and get to 195, I’ll be able to run it in less than an hour.

The Gum Tree is one of the most popular 10K races in the country, and people come from all over to run in it. In fact, there were several here for the event that are training for the China Olympics. Can you believe that the winner of the race completed it in about 28 minutes? Unbelievable. I think he was from Tanzania or some other African country. .

As the starting gun sounded, I took off surrounded by this mass of people. After a block or two, I looked down at my Polar timer on my wrist and was shocked to realize that I was running about 8 mph. At first, I thought that the calibration was off as I usually run between 5.5 and 6.5 mph. And then it dawned upon me that two things were happening. First of all, the adrenalin had kicked in—that rush resulting from actually running in a real race. But the second thought that occurred to me was that I was running with the crowd, and it was so easy to run faster when everyone else was running beside me at the same pace. If I had the time and space here, I could preach a little bit about this. There is power in unity, and doing it together!

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