The New York Marathon is one of the largest and most famous marathons in the world. Over 45 000 people tackle the 42.2km race. Some race to finish first and collect the fame and fortune. The majority are just trying to finish.
The marathon, for many, is a symbol of endurance: persistence in the face of trial. There are endless stories of people who have faced hardship in life and used running the marathon as a symbolic way to bounce back and.
"Super storm Sandy" has swept through the New York area causing death and damage. The NY Marathon, scheduled for the first Sunday in November, was cancelled because of the storm.
This left the 10 000's of athletes devastated. There was even a contingent of Australian indigenous runners who went over led by Robert de Costa. All the training now means nothing. Or is it? How do athletes cope when they face major disappointment such as this? How do WE face disappointments in life?
The situation with the NY marathon gives us perspective on sport and life. The secret is found in understanding this perspective.
Completing the race is always the goal, but don't forget the journey. The actual race is just part of the marathon journey. I have always thought that the marathon starts when you make that decision to run it. Once that commitment is made, then you begin the battle with self-doubt and the pain of all that training.
It is a battle from that point all the way to the start line. The race itself is really the reward for all that sacrifice.
Those 45,000 athletes that never got to run the NY Marathon have travelled that journey and in many ways conquered it. They have earned their spot on the start line. They have proven they have what it takes by making the commitment and training hard towards that goal. In many ways, the training is the hardest part.
The race is the reward. For these runners it is incredibly disappointing to not get the reward of running the marathon. But all these athletes should still be proud of the race they have already run.
Life is full of disappointments. You work towards a goal only to see it disappear. This could be a job promotion, a church project or financial loss. The secret is in remembering the journey that you have taken to reach that point.
This journey is often the most difficult part. It is important to remember this and celebrate your commitment rather than distorting it to be seen as a complete loss.
The Bible's Book of James (Chapter 1 verses 2-4) explains that trials in our faith help make us stronger. They build us up stronger than we were before. When you face your next disappointment remember the journey you have already travelled. Celebrate!
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor of mooraboolchurch.org
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html