Olympics to Detroit to You
Olympics to Detroit to You
In the last few months, I have written about the 2016 Olympics and
Paralympics and how we can learn from these incredible athletes — even
those who don’t place.
Well, a few weeks ago, I saw another video online. It was of another
inspirational runner. It was of Marathon Mission founder Lisa Harper. She
was finishing ANOTHER Detroit Marathon. I believe she has run the Detroit
Marathon every year since founding Marathon Mission, which is an
INCREDIBLE accomplishment. Simply being healthy and able to run 26.2 miles
in mid-October year after year is nothing short of amazing.
But here are some things I also noticed about Lisa in that short video. 1)
She wasn’t coming in first; 2) She wasn’t running like a Kenyan˛; 3) But
she WAS running with purpose; 4) She WAS running with joy; 5) She WAS
running, somehow, with a smile on her face; 6) She finished!
Personally, I’m not sure if Lisa runs that marathon for herself as much as
she runs it for you. By that, I mean you, the Marathon Mission member. If
you read the newsletter, you can’t help but feel how much she wants to
encourage members and help them achieve their goals and raise funds for
charity. At times, I thinks she does the marathon less for herself and
more to be an inspiration, a leader, a friend who can share the pain of
the effort with each Marathon Mission member.
Lisa didn’t know that I was writing this month’s blog about her, and I’m
sure she’s probably squirming a bit because she’s not about being praised.
She’s about seeing others be successful, but I guess she’ll just have to
So, how does Lisa’s example help you? Well, first off, you know that Lisa
IS a reliable resource. She cares. But perhaps what we all learn from is
her approach to running. I’m sure she hits the door and puts in her miles
on a regular basis because she enjoys it. But she also runs for you,
Marathon Missioners. So, what IF you took on the same approach? What IF
you also ran for reasons beyond yourself?
You may say, “Well, I’m running for this particular charity this year.
Very good. That’s the spirit of Marathon Mission. But when you cross the
finish line, what then?
I would offer the idea of looking to help someone ELSE be successful in
doing the same. Help someone else achieve their goals . . . once a week,
run with a beginning running who is taking on his/her first 5K or 10K.
Sure you may end up walking some (or even quite a bit), but when you give
of yourself like that, when you put the other person’s need for
encouragement and help ahead of your own plans, you may find it surprising
how much you start to look forward to that shared time . . . and while
you’re mind is on helping someone else, you may just find that you’re
actually helping yourself more than you ever imagined.
Will running slower and walking give you faster times? Maybe not, but it
could give you more enjoyable times (creating deeper friendships,
conversations, etc.). The Bible actually has wisdom here: It’s better to
give than receive. Weird, huh? But I think we all know what it feels like
to be a part of making someone’s life better. We’re wired in a way that it
brings lasting joy to our hearts. It makes us feel better as a person.
Whereas if running is focused on setting PRs, well, that’s great . . . you
set one . . . now you got to beat THAT time. It’s a mindset that will
sooner or later lead to failure after failure . . . whereas give of
yourself, and you’re looking at adding friend after friend.
Anyway, I’ve known Lisa since the early years of Marathon Mission. She
bugged me for several years before I relented and made the journey to run
the Detroit Marathon (driving from Springfield, Missouri, two different
times to run it). But in all those years, even though Lisa is a very
gifted runner (and her kids are too), it hasn’t been her running skills
that have kept me a part of Marathon Mission, It’s been her people
skills. She puts people first and yet, she manages to run 26.2 every
October with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.
SO, Marathon Missioners, if you’re looking for a running role model who
will help you get the most enjoyment out of running, let me recommend
Lisa. When you read this newsletter, I urge you to read it with the
understanding that here’s someone who really cares about Marathon Mission
and cares about you!
Now, look around to see who might welcome your help in achieving their
running goal, give of yourself, and . . .
Have an awesome run today! : )
Dan Van Veen