You're in limited preview mode.

Login or signup for free to unlock more content.

Run THE Race

Calling Endurance Reward

Source: "British runner Jasmin Paris becomes first woman to finish Barkley Marathons, just 99 seconds before time limit expired" By Ben Morse, March 24, 2024

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2024-05-17

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:7 ; 1 Timothy 4:8

Author: John Reside / Illustration Exchange


Various news outlets report:

On Friday, March 22 [2024], Jasmin Paris became the first woman to ever complete the infamous Barkley Marathons. The 40-year-old mother from Scotland completed the 100-plus mile race in 59 hours, 58 minutes and 21 seconds.  That left just one minute and 39 seconds to spare when she hit the yellow gate. 

Few people who start the race ever finish it, with some years seeing no finishers at all! In fact, only 20 runners have ever fully completed the course!

So what is the Barkley Marathons and why is it considered the toughest and quirkiest race in the world?

The race began by former ultra-runner Gary Cantrell, better known as ‘Lazarus Lake,’ and his friend, Karl ‘Raw Dog’ Henn in 1986. To Henn, Cantrell had mocked the seemingly unathletic escape of James Earl Ray, the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who covered only 12 miles during his 60 hours on the run, saying, 'I could do at least 100 miles in that time.'

It was from that joke and Lake’s twisted sense of humor that the Barkley Marathons were born. Originally the race was approximately 55 miles with 25,000 ft of elevation gain, but was later extended in 1989 to 100 miles. [5 20-mile loops]

The race has been run every year since, and as described above, has become even more challenging over time.

The race can start anytime between midnight and noon on race day with a one-hour warning from the sound of a conch shell. Later, the lighting of a ceremonial cigarette marks the race’s official beginning. The 20-mile loop covers the exact horizontal distance and does not take into account changes in elevation, indirect paths or getting lost. One of the other quirky dimensions of the race is that runners are required to find 9 -14 books around the state park and take out page numbers that correspond to their changing bib number each round. They must return the pages to Lake every lap to prove they didn’t take any shortcuts.

Upon Paris' historic victory she said, “At the end every fiber of my body was screaming to stop. I didn’t even know if I touched the gate. I just gave it everything to get there and then collapsed, gasping for air.” 


While one can't imagine the kind of training Jasmin had to go through to run 100 miles, the quirky nature of this race reminds one that not every race matters equally.

As the old saying goes, "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat." Yet we are called in scripture to keep running! Endure to the end! For a great prize awaits those who do!

In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, Paul says, "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

The race Paul trained for was THE race that mattered! It was one of eternal significance, and he calls us to run the same race as well. 

Payday is Coming

Reward Persecution Perseverance

Contributed By: Bob Kombe | Date Posted: 2022-08-05

Scripture: Matthew 5:11 ; Matthew 5:12

Author: Bob Kombe


You know, as I was thinking about the promised reward found in Matthew 5:12, it made me think of the work I am currently doing as a preschool teacher.  Now, most days at work are pretty OK - the people are friendly, the kids are behaving well, and it’s just a normal day.

But then there are some days when it feels really difficult. Maybe it's that I’m not getting along well with one of my co-workers, or maybe the kids are being particularly naughty that day, or maybe it’s just one of those super busy days - and I find myself getting irritated, frustrated, tired, and grumpy.

Now, do you know what always helps to lift my mood? I just think about payday. I imagine that there is a day coming when I’m going to be paid for all of my trouble. Now maybe that doesn't make the problem go away - but it does a lot in changing my attitude toward the problem.


The kind of reward that Jesus promises in Matthew 5:12 is far greater than a temporary paycheck at the end of the month. Here, Jesus is talking about a heavenly reward.  In fact, Jesus calls it a great reward.  It is far, far better than any good thing you and I can think or imagine.  And this blessing, this reward that Jesus is talking about, is forever!

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:11-12, NIV).

Tested By Fire

Judgment of Believers Preparation Reward

Source: Business Insider Today

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Jerred England | Date Posted: 2020-04-16

Scripture: Malachi 3:2 ; 1 Corinthians 3:13

Author: Austin Meyer


"Sprinklers, limestone plaster, frame repellant window gel, and a hand-poured concrete basement. This is what Chris Arai used to withstand the fires. 

"Wildfires have burnt thousands of California homes to the ground in recent years.

"Engineer Chris Arai has spent more than 15 years fireproofing his Sonoma County home, outfitting it with a gas-powered sprinkler system, flame-repellant window gel, and a concrete basement he poured by hand.

"When the Kincade Fire ripped through Arai's rural community last year, the engineer's home was the only one that survived the blaze."


Chris went to great lengths to fire-proof his home. While many scrambled as the wildfires crept closer, since he was well prepared, his home was able to withstand the fire that destroyed his neighbor's home.

How will the life you've built stand up to the fire that's coming when God tests the quality of what you've done? 

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work" (1 Corinthians 3:11-13, NIV). 

Trading Away The Future

Future Patience Reward

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2019-11-01

Scripture: Matthew 6:19 ; Matthew 6:20

Author: Corey Sawyers

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Ordinary No More

Resurrection Love for God Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2019-10-16

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:41

Author: Mitchell Dillon

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

The 950th Time Is A Charm

Perseverance Reward Inspiration

Contributed By: STIRLING BERRY | Date Posted: 2018-12-23

Scripture: Galatians 6:9 ; James 1:12


This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Make Your Meter Run Backwards

Reward Stewardship Witness

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2018-08-13

Scripture: Daniel 12:3 ; John 8:12

Author: Thomas Bevers / Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

One Strange Looking Carrot

God's Promises Heaven Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-08-17

Scripture: Matthew 19:29 ; Revelation 21:5

Author: Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

What Happens When You Double A Penny Everyday For 30 Days?

Faithfulness Priorities Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-05-03

Scripture: Matthew 6:20

Author: Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or

Grace Rewards Late Arrivals

Grace Reward Eternal Life

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-10-26

Scripture: Matthew 20:13

Author: Illustration Exchange

This is Premium Content.

To see the full illustration, please Sign Up or