The Slowest Race

The Slowest Race

After seven years of running half marathons I have finally run my slowest and it was the best.

The goal of my slowest race wasn’t time but to see someone else succeed.


This is Joe, he had never run a race longer than a 10k (6.2 miles). But his goal was to finish a half-marathon.

A few months before the race we talk about his goal and I was able to create a training plan for him to follow. The goal was to finish, not run a fast race but endure to the end.

Joe can tell you, he didn’t stick with the plan. In fact we had a few stops and starts that included revisions of the plan. Some of the restarts were due to life issues, some were due to well…they just happened.

But even with the restarts we pushed forward to finish.

Race day was just a few days away and I could tell Joe was nervous. He was questioning his commitment and training, but he had the courage to move forward and toe the line. 

In our drive to the starting line I had asked him what pace he thought he could maintain and he gave an answer. The gun fired and we were off, I was checking my watch often to make sure we were keeping with his self-projected pace.

A few miles into the race and the average pace we had agreed upon was not a reality. No problem, we can slow down and that's what we did.

Remember the goal was to finish, and we did. It took longer than we thought but we finished and we celebrated, immediately and a couple hours later over a good meal.

Here are some things I learned and can be applied to just about any goal.

  • Set a realistic goal.

  • Set a plan, training plan, that takes incremental steps toward the goal.

  • When a plan is interrupted, that doesn’t mean it is time to quit, but time to re-evaluate. The goal didn’t move.

  • Find someone to walk with you in setting the goal, holding you accountable and walking with you to the end.

  • Celebrate the accomplishment.

Yes, it was the slowest half marathon I had ever run, but there is no greater joy that seeing someone else succeed.

Here is how Joe recapped the experience. (I post this not to take credit but to encourage everyone to find a Joe and help them accomplish something big.)

This has been a tough last few months for me and my family and as soon as he heard I was taking on a half marathon he made me a plan (edited it twice), ran with me, and encouraged me. When life struck and runs were missed he never spoke anything but life over me. Today he offered to ride with me to the Highlands College half marathon to cheer me on. Instead he bought a number and ran alongside me the whole way coaching and encouraging me through. So thankful for this friend and brother and the incredible blessing he is to me and my family.

Proverbs 18:24b “but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

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