From: Jarom Smith
"I stand with my toe to the line. I look over my competitors, whom I respect for their ability and strength. But the words of my coaches are heavy in my mind: they have not trained as I have and do not know what I know. These words are racing through my mind as the gun explodes like a lightning bolt in the sky. They fly as hawks soaring out in front not content to stay behind. These are the thoughts of a runner.
A runner isn't your average man. To run you must dig deep inside yourself and find strength you never knew you had. The more pain you go through the less you show. Yet their build is not of strong men. In fact they are small. It's their heart that gives them muscle. I have come to understand this very well. Your heart has to be in it to succeed and for those of us with no natural talent its all we have that keeps us running.
The mental toughness you endure makes you tall; tall with the pride that you are a runner. Staying mentally tough is very important. To block out all pain is a skill not many have accomplished. My eyes are set on the course ahead of me, taking in mind every detail before I come upon it. Concentration of nothing but the course and the focus of a tree in the distance every step inching nearer to that tree and the glory of the home stretch.
Through rain, hail, snow, and sleet you'll see them in the streets. Striving to be the best they can be. I value this very much in life as well. It doesn't matter the weather, to miss a practice is to lose all you have gained. Success can only be accomplished through hard work.
As I draw nearer I ponder on the plan set in my mind to attack. The slopes of the grassy turf never had come to mind before because of the many days spent on the hills and mountains near my home. But this race means more to me as it is the last race I will run as a cowboy. The hill comes upon me and I find strength where others cannot. I peek up over and down the back side gaining speed gliding nearer to the finish.
My heart is thumping now, adrenaline is building. I pick up speed, all is blurred, the focus is set, all that is heard is the cry's from the side lines. I let out a war whoop with my crossing, open and full, letting out all the stress. A feeling of relief enters my body, until I do it all again, for running is a part of life and there will always be a race to conquer.
People have always asked me why I run. I don't think I could ever explain it quite as good as if you were to experience it. But the joy and happiness I find in running is uncomparable to anything you could ever find. To feel so much alive and able to do anything because you're in shape is a great feeling. There's lots of reasons why I run and I do know this. I don't run because it's popular, I run because I can." --September 2, 1999, spelling and punctuation preserved.
In life we strive, we struggle, we "dig deep inside yourself and find strength you never knew you had". Life's race is not always to the swift or the strong- "It's their heart that gives them muscle." Through faith and determination we endure and overcome. Jarom and his team won their race, and clinched the State Championship. What does it mean to win our race of life?
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