We have a great Brasilian friend who is a runner. His name is Sergio. He and his family are very special to us. We've taken family trips together and we've enjoyed many good times together. We've also had the honor of sharing the Good News of Christ with him and seeing him give his life to the Lord. I had the honor of being a part of his baptism into Christ.
Here he is with my parents on their recent trip here.
Anyway, Sergio has run in and completed 10 marathons. He gave the idea of running a marathon to me and Matt (our teammate) about 6 years ago. He helped Matt finish his first one and then the next year he, literally, ran by my side until I had to stop after 34 km's. He then called my wife to tell her where to pick me up and then he finished the race. I thought he was running so slow with me because he was hurting like I was. He wasn't. He just wanted to see me finish. He finished last in the race with an ambulance behind him (alerting everyone that he was the last runner to finish). I remember how he was just smiling and waving to the crowd as the siren was blaring and he got close to the finish line. He finished and came to me and told me how great I had done. I was discouraged for not finishing and he was so encouraging. That's who he is.
The next year he wasn't able to train as much because of knee problems but we again started the marathon together. He had to quit at the halfway point but guess who was there to welcome me at the finish line as I completed my first marathon? That's right....Sergio. He wasn't discouraged that he didn't finish his race. He did the best he could, had to stop and then waited 2 more hours for me to finish my race. He is a special brother.
In our house church family we have one more guy who likes to run. His name is João Spencer. I love this brother and his family. They are a huge blessing to our house church family. João is a pilot in the Air Force.
About 5 years ago the four of us signed up to run a half marathon race together as a team. We would each run a little over 5km. On the day of the race the sky opened up and it just poured. It was cold as well. The older I get the more I hate to run in the cold and the rain. I can handle running in the rain (if it's hot) or cold weather (without the rain) but together? No. I wasn't the only one as the phone started ringing about 6 that morning and everyone saying we'll just sit that one out.
Since then we've run together during the week or at church family retreats. We always wanted to get together and do another team race but it had never worked out. Until last Saturday.
There was a night run half marathon along the river by our downtown. I ran in it last year by myself and really enjoyed it. There was something fun about running downtown at night.
So this year I called those guys to see if they wanted to run the whole thing together or split off into teams of 2 or 4. We decided to be a team of 4. Finally after 5 years we were going to run our team race together.
We had a great time together and we actually did pretty good. We got an email from Matt yesterday and apparently we finished in 5th place and get some trophies. Not bad for a couple of 30 somethings, a 40 something and a 50 something who don't train together.
We even got to see this guy:
His name is Darci and he's in his 70's. I met him during my first marathon run. He talks the entire race and encourages everyone. And he's fast. One year he ran the marathon, finished and then ran back through the route to encourage people who were finished behind him. He's a special guy. Sergio brought him over to talk to us Saturday night and he was thanking us for being there because we encouraged him. Funny thing is he didn't see us until after he finished the race. He finished his 13 mile race this year in about one hour and 35 minutes. Our team finish about 5 minutes ahead of him. I hate him. Okay, not really. Well, maybe just a little. Okay, I don't but come on, he's in his 70's. He definitely has a gift of running.
Here are some pictures of our night.
The one thing I love about running with Christians is it helps me to focus better. Not on my time necessarily but on just God. I find myself talking to God more and thanking him for the ability to run while I'm doing a race with my brothers. We huddle up and pray both before and after our race time. I'm always blessed to run with those guys.
Even though it was 5 years in the making, it was worth the wait. (I love looking at the face of the dude in the back trying his best to get out of our picture.)
Please pray for our little team. We've frequently talked about how to use our love of running as some type of ministry. Pray for us to be open to however He wants us to use this for His glory.