Here’s a basic fact: What we know does not directly effect what we do. What we spend our times mentally dwelling on effects our emotions. And our emotions effect our behavior that is: what we do. Here’s something else to consider: Your environment has a lot to do with what you are mentally dwelling on at that moment! Want to switch around your paradigm … at least for a brief but wonderful span of time? Change that environment? Then attend a marathon! No you don’t have to run a marathon. But show up at the side lines. Cheer them on. Oh, and by the way, don’t watch it on TV, be there in person… there is a big difference… a huge difference. Though watch it on TV at very least if you absolutely cannot attend!
At the Chicago Marathon there are literally thousands of runners along with a few rollers (wheelchair racers) surging forward in this great race. For the most part these are people who are committed diligently to something and have been training for months just for this race. There is a certain energy of excitement as you behold in person these amazing people executing their plan. And some of these folks are among the greatest distance runners in the world!
There are the elite runners, and the Joe-everyman. They have taken on an impressive challenge: running 26.2 miles and crossing the finish line. I have run and completed the Chicago Marathon two times. It was hard. But there is something to be said for completing a hard and difficult goal and crossing that finish line. This kind of stuff can be drawn upon and applied to other areas of our lives. The Bible even pictures our lives as a distance race where the ones who have gone on before are on the side-lines cheering us on. Willing us to finish the race and finish it well.
Another wonderful thing is the literally hundreds of thousands of spectators who show up at an event like this. Many are there to cheer on friends and family who are in the race. The point is, they show up with an intent to do something positive: to spur on and encourage others. They are also there to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Go! And be a part of something bigger than yourself! You will have to do a little planning. Here are a few interesting points and tips for going to see a marathon live:
- The cost of watch a marathon is free. You don’t have to spend money to get in a stadium or any other venue. This is an opportunity that many can take advantage of regardless of income.
- Find out the start time of the marathon and expect to be there at least an hour early.
- If at all possible, take public transportation to the race. This especially goes for large races such as the Chicago Marathon where the traffic around the race can be awful. Just think about all those people coming to run and watch the event and all the roads blocked off from cars so that the runners can use them instead!
- Try to get a map of the course… do this before race day. You can find information like this on the race’s web site. Most of the time a long course like this will be in the form of some sort of loop where the finish line ends up being not far from the starting line. If you plan things right, you can see the beginning of the race as well as others (including wheelchair and elite runners) crossing the finish line.
- Watch for two or three different vantage points along the course keeping these points close to the middle of the course’s “loop.”
- As far as roads in the loop, position your self of the side of the street that is outside the loop or you might end up stuck in the middle for 20 or 30 minutes waiting for 50,000 runners to go by before you can cross the street!
- Many runners have their names on their shirt to provide you with an aid to cheer them on. Take them up on it and get involved in this simple way. “Go Mary!” “Go Joe!”
- Take it all in. The cheering and shouting crowds. The ringing of cow-bells. The sirens. The pace cars. The racers.
- Meditate on the thought that thousands of people this day will attempt and complete a hard task. Some will be in pain, tired, but they will joyfully cross that finish line. It is something that no one can take away from them!
- And finally, later, after its is long over. Deliberately relive those moments and think of those “marathons” each of us has in our lives and the joy of coming through and crossing the finish line!