I begin the race. I've been told that it is one hundred metres, and though I am a little scared, a little nervous, I think it is only 100 metres so I try to put it into perspective.
Other friends have run this race before, and though there are challenges, they have speed through. I look forward to joining them after the finish line soon.
I begin the race.
It is more emotionally taxing than I expect.
As I run, other begin running with me. They are a little bit faster and I see them cross the finish line. But the strange thing is, I don't. I do not finish the race. Their race is only 100 metres. Mine is longer.
So I keep running. As I run, more people join the race behind me. I welcome them in, but to my surprise, they pass me. And they finish the race. I do not. Must be 400 metres.
And so I continue to run.
Long races are hard work. I am working so very hard. I am putting in so much effort- more effort than those around me have. One foot after the other gets harder when you pass the 400 metre mark. Maybe it's a mile run. I start to feel a little crabby as more people join and finish the race. Some weren't even in training when I began. I feel resentful and angry and I so desperately want to finish the race. I pass the mile. Still no finish line.
Suddenly my old friends, the ones I've started with, decide to run again. Bang, it seems like just a moment and they are winners again.
Some winners are wonderful. They run along side of me after they finish, they encourage me on, they tell me what a good job I am doing. They say that they love me and that they wish my race was shorter.
Others do their victory laps, cheering themselves on and singing "We are the champions" by Queen as loud as they can. Completely oblivious to those of us who are still running.
We are approaching the half marathon length.
Suddenly I see it! The finish line. It's there, right in front of me! Others who have been working so hard, running just as long as me have reached it and I think- Yes, I'm here, I'm finally going to finish the race.
But the ribbon is riped from in front of me. I trip over and sprawl on the ground. I was so close! But I have not finished yet and I wonder if I will ever get back up again.
I keep running. I keep running and people- hundreds of people everywhere continue to lap me. Those who have been running for a while. Those who have been running less than a moment. My sweat is mixed with my tears.
There are some who have run the half marathon who understand how hard it can be. And I get it. I really do. And I love them for their sympathy and care. But they are finished and I am still running and though I love them it is still oh so hard to be one of the few left still running.
The hard thing is, i don't know if there will ever be a finish line for me. There will probably be, everyone says "Keep running, it will end" but I don't know and I can't know. I might be running a marathon, I might just be running a race that never ends. And there might even come a time when I just can't run anymore and I have to stop.
But that time is not now.
I am running my marathon. It is not the race I would have chosen, but it is the race that I am in. And so I will continue to run, praying to God that one day I will receive the prize that I long for.