What mattered most about running my last marathon had nothing to do with anything that happened on the 26.2 miles of Tulsa streets.
What mattered most while I was running the Williams Route 66 Marathon last month wasn’t the 20-degree wind, stinging my face and numbing my toes, relentlessly creeping into my jacket. What mattered most wasn’t the hill upon hill upon steep hill. Or, even, my finish time, which to be honest was disappointing … or the nagging ache in my hip, insisting with each step that I’m getting too old for this foolishness.
Marathon runners have a tendency to dwell on the negative, being introverted and introspective by nature. Forgive me, because those weren’t the things that mattered most.
Here is what mattered most. Here is what I tell folks who ask how the race went:
You, my friends, were so generous to support my effort to raise funds for World Vision’s clean water projects in Africa. So generous, that together we raised $1,361.20 for Team World Vision. Above and beyond my fundraising goal … but I should have known you would come through.
If I have not had the opportunity to say “thank you,” in person, let me say it now: Thank you for your financial generosity. Thank you for your personal encouragement. Thank you for caring about children and families suffering in a desperate and desolate part of the world. On their behalf, and on behalf of the World Vision staff who serve them, thank you. Thank you for not taking our own prosperity for granted and ignoring those who are less fortunate.
I may not be able to tell you all of this in person, but believe me, this is very personal.
It was an encouragement to me, enduring the rigors of the race, to know I was running with your support for a cause that matters. And to run alongside about a hundred other members of Team World Vision who also represent so many compassionate contributors.
On the back of my Team World Vision jersey (now my favorite running shirt) is the slogan, “I care. And so I run.” I know that you care, too, and that is what matters most.