Several years ago, Cec, a friend of mine, announced she was going to do Robie Creek Run the next spring and wanted to know if anyone would train with her. For the uninitiated, Robie Creek Run is the hardest half-marathon in North America and people from all over the world come to li’l ole Boise, Idaho every April to participate. The run is eight miles uphill and 5.2 miles downhill in a narrow canyon. The weather is unpredictable so you might be running in mud, rain, snow, or dry stifling heat. Something you need to know: I’m not athletic, and if you’ll recheck you will see that I did not say “run Robie Creek” I said I was going to “do Robie Creek” which means I and my friend were going to walk the half-marathon. She had done it twice before.
I told my hubby I was training for Robie Creek and he gave me the standard, “Uh-huh, that’s nice.” Every evening after work I walked, and every Saturday Cec and I met at the trailhead and walked, eventually working ourselves up to sixteen miles.
The week before the event it finally penetrated my honey’s mind that I was serious about this endeavor and he freaked. “Janice, honey, you’re not athletic. You can’t do this. It takes years to train. You’ll collapse on that trail.” There really wasn’t a counter argument to this because he was right. He was a jock in his day. He graduated from a small high school, and if you know about small schools, everyone participates in every sport. So he lettered in like five sports. I lettered in choir and orchestra. Like I said, he knew me.
I couldn’t counter because I was admiring my new water bottle holsters, and my new skort — that shorts/skirt thing that old women think is trendy — and double-tying my New Balance shoes because I knew that if they weren’t knotted, they’d come undone and then there would be trouble.
So he gave up and on Saturday, he and Gary, Cec’s husband, took us to the starting point and then went to catch the shuttle to the end to wait for us.
The gun went off and in ten seconds, only the walkers were left. It was a bright sunny day and we set off with enthusiasm. However, about four miles in, Cec got very ill. The aid car came by and picked her up, and I was on my own.
Mike and Gary were sitting close by when the aid car stopped. Seeing Cec step out, Cheetos went one way and Mike’s chair the other as he raced over to her. “Where’s Janice? Have they air lifted her to the hospital? I’ve got to get out of here!” Cec just stared at him, “Janice is fine, Mike. I’m the one who got sick. She’s still walking.”
So now there were three of them waiting for me. And the thing is…I knew I could finish. All I needed to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other. I couldn’t let discouragement of how hot I was, how tired I was distract me. I knew if I kept going, I would finish the race.
And that, right there, is the key to ministry. You must keep going. There will be discouragement, heartbreaking times, times when you want so badly to just give up. But God has called us to finish the race, he has promised to walk with us, and at the end there will be glories never before seen.
Keep walking. Just like I did. And at four hours and thirty-six minutes I crossed the finish line. I was definitely not the fastest, I more trudged than walked, it didn’t matter. I finished the race. And so can you.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.