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Run the Race

Endurance Preparation Faithfulness

Source: “Somalian sports minister apologizes after slow 100-meter runner goes viral at university games” by Omar Faruk, published AP News, 8/2/23, retrieved 8/11/23.

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2023-08-11

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24 ; 2 Timothy 4:7

Author: Illustration Exchange


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia’s sports minister publicly apologized Wednesday and ordered that the chairwoman of the national track and field federation be suspended after a seemingly untrained female sprinter represented the African country at the World University Games in China and took more than 20 seconds to finish a 100-meter race.

The minister reported that they did not know how the woman, 20-year-old Nasra Abukar Ali, was selected to compete in the women’s 100 at the student games in Chengd. She very quickly fell behind, and finished more than 10 seconds behind the winner (in a 100 meter race, that is an eternity!).

Some charged nepotism, some charged incompetence, but all cried foul, claiming the perfomrance posed a serious embarrassment to all serious Somali athletes, as well as being damaging to Somalia’s reputation on the world stage at large. 

Video of the race was shared in a tweet criticizing Ali’s participation, and calling for the head of Somalia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports to immediately step down. The video has since gone viral, with nearly 70 million views to date.


Scripture likens the Christian life to running a race, and in doing so cautions that we should not take our participation in that race lightly, but rather train and discipline ourselves to perform well.

That said, some of us will train harder than others, some will quit the race, but yet others will finally limp across the finish line, albeit well behind the rest of the pack.

Ali was not prepared for the race she had entered, but to her credit, she did finish the race. Perhaps it is her goal to keep running, keep training, improving her fitness and her time. Or, perhaps she entered the race with no other motive than to mock the process. We can’t know.

What we can know, though, is for those of us sincerely called by God into the Christian life, we are called to “run with endurance, the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon” (2 Timothy 4:7-9, ESV).

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24, ESV).

Determined to Run

Endurance Humility Purpose

Source: Various, including, "Jim Thorpe American Athlete"

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-03-09

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

Author: Illustration Exchange


Jim Thorpe, born May 28, 1888, in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, has been acclaimed as one of the most accomplished “all-around” athletes in history.  In fact, in 1950 he was selected by American sportswriters and broadcasters as the greatest American athlete of the early 20th century. 

He was predominantly of American Indian descent and attended Indian schools growing up.  Financially poor and underprivileged by any standards, he was every bit rich in athletic prowess.  He played it all – baseball, football, basketball, boxing, lacrosse, swimming, hockey, and most famously, track and field. 

Strong as a bull and fast as lightning, Thorpe competed in the Stockholm Olympics of 1912 in both the Pentathlon and the Decathlon.  But just before he was set to take the field he discovered someone had stolen his shoes. Undeterred, he searched for another pair. 

What he found was not a "pair," but rather two different sized, different styled shoes discarded in a trash can. To make the larger of the two shoes fit, he had to wear extra socks. 

Dressed in his pauperish, mismatched replacements, he humbly took to the field and won Gold Medals in both competitions.


God has set a race before you.  He’s challenged you to ready yourself.  Even so, unexpected obstacles can (and will) present themselves.  It will take tenacity, courage, creativity, and maybe even a good dose of humility to stay the course.

What is YOUR excuse for not running with endurance the race which God has set before you?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …” Heb 12:1 (ESV

Don't Be Remembered For The Time You Quit

Endurance Faithfulness Perseverance

Source: "The Champ Throws in the Towel" By RED SMITH , NY Times, November 25, 1980

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Howard Harden | Date Posted: 2018-01-30

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:4 ; Job 3:1

Author: Howard Harden


One of the biggest boxing matches of the twentieth century took place on November 25, 1980, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a rematch between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran. Duran had won the previous fight and was the favorite the second time around. He had a record of 72 wins and just one loss and he had won his last forty-one fights. That is some winning streak.

The rematch was a close fight. Only a point or two separated the two fighters on the judges’ scorecards. But then something unthinkable happened in the eighth round that no one expected. Roberto Duran turned to the referee and spoke two words: "No Mas." "No more." He quit.  He wasn’t injured. He wasn’t cut. He was frustrated and he’d had enough. Here is a fighter who was one of the best to ever step into the ring. He won a total of 103 fights, but when anyone mentions his name today, the first thing that comes to mind is “no mas.” People remember the day he quit.


We have all had times when we felt like quitting. Quitting your job. Quitting the class you teach. Quitting on your marriage. Some people even give up on God. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of people in this country give up on life itself. Over 959,000, almost a million Americans, attempt suicide every year.

Some of the greatest heroes of the Bible thought about giving up. Elijah said, “Lord, go ahead and take my life. I’m finished” (1 Kings 19:4). Job said, “Cursed be the day I was born” (Job 3:1). Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. He said, “O that my eyes were a fountain of tears that I might weep day and night" (Jeremiah 9:1). 

Yet, these men overcame the temptation to quit and served God faithfully. So when you are tempted to quit, remember, you are in good company. Hang in there. Keep serving. Keep being faithful. Keep doing what God wants you to do. Don't be known for the time you decided to quit. 

Equal and Opposite Pressure

Cynicism Endurance God's Power

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-04-30

Scripture: 1 John 4:4

Author: Illustration Exchange

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A Plug Horse for God

Endurance Perseverance Reward

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-21

Scripture: Galatians 6:9

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Runner Celebrates Too Soon, Loses Race

Reward Faithfulness Endurance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-16

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1 ; 1 Corinthians 9:24

Author: Danielle Elliottt, Yahoo! Sports / Illustration Ex

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A New Year's Prayer

New Year's Prayer Endurance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-12-29

Scripture: Philippians 4:13

Author: Unknown

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Runner Enters 10K Race and Ends Up in Marathon

Endurance Submission God's Will

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-05-08

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Keeping the Torch Lit

Passion First Love Endurance

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-03-09

Scripture: Revelation 2:1

Author: Joseph Stowell

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Delayed Gratification

Reward Discipline (Self) Endurance

Contributed By: Rich Wilbur | Date Posted: 2013-01-25

Scripture: Hebrews 6:12

Author: Emily Bazelon

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