By Hae S. Bolduc
Life is magic and so is a 26.2 mile run! Emil Zatopek, a Czechoslovakian runner, said at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” In our life’s journey and during a 26.2 mile run, the only thing we know for sure is that we will experience many unknowns – some good, some bad and some surprising moments! Nevertheless, life has given us “Purpose.” Life and a marathon both demand the human essence characteristics – endurance, patience, resilience, and suffering. We can inspire ourselves and others with the gifts given to us – our life and our unique two legs.
- Getting to the Starting Line: Life’s starting line has been given to us by our parents’ love; I bet they had much pleasure consummating that commitment. Then during the nine month gestation period, we are safe and warm inside mother’s womb, tasting what mother’s eating, listening to her music, and experiencing her mood. Truly, the nine months of development are magical. For a marathon, the toughest part is signing up and making the commitment. It all begins there. Standing at the starting line with all the other runners who have trained hard for the marathon makes this a magical moment!
- The Journey to the Unknown: The journey is a roller coaster, both in life and in a marathon; it is never all flat, all downhills, nor all uphills. When we look at an uphill, there is most likely a downhill on the other side, followed by another uphill. In preparation for the marathon it does not matter how much training and dedication we have put in, anything can happen during the 26.2 mile run. Unknowns can occur – pain in the legs, the arms, and the entire body. The same goes for our lives. As we make plans for our lives – what college we will attend, what career we will pursue, and the person we want to marry – many unexpected events and tragedies occur throwing us unexpected curve balls. John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” While you are running a marathon there are moments when the adrenaline kicks in giving us that high with cheering fans and the experience of beautiful places. At times, life brings us happy and joyous moments, like when the kids graduate, we marry, we experience our grandchildren, and the love of our families and friends. I have found my place when I am running – a brutal honestly of who I am. Eliud Kipchoge, the fastest marathoner in the world, said “You live simple, you train hard and live an honest life. Then you are free”.
- The Finish Line: We all are headed to the finish line. In a marathon, we want to get to the finish line as fast as we can. In life we do not see anyone rushing to get to the finish line. When you finish a marathon, the whole body hurts badly. It does not matter if you are an elite runner or an amateur, crossing the finish line gives all of us a sense of accomplishment and victory. We can look back at the few wisdoms we gain from the marathon and try to apply them to the next marathon. However in life, when we cross that finish line, that’s the worldly end. Others write about the few known facts of the deceased, whose life story was written internally with his or her own memories. And then we move on to a new path – an unknown path for all of us! Some people call it heaven where we meet our loved ones that have gone before us. Whatever it may be, when we cross the finish line, both in life and in a marathon, we move on to a NEW journey! No two marathons are same, no two lives are identical, and replaying either is a challenge and impossible. We just do the best we can in the here and now!