A Marathon, The Hard Way

October 19, 2017
Volume 21, Number 36

Irene Sewell is now listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. She recently completed a marathon race in 7 hours and 28 minutes. If you’re wondering what’s so special about that, let me finish: She ran the entire marathon in high heels!

Winning a spot in the Guinness Book is not a cakewalk. When Irene first approached them about the record, they were specific in their requirements. The heels had to be at least 2.75 inches high (hers were three-inch heels) and 1.5 centimeters wide. She had to complete a certified marathon race in under 7.5 hours.

Few expect high heel marathon racing to become a trend. Sewell’s podiatrist warned against training for the marathon in high heels. She came to the race prepared with blister band-aids, insoles, and five extra pairs of shoes. When she crossed the finish line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she had only two minutes to spare.

I respect those who run marathon races. To run 26.2 miles is beyond my wildest dream, but some do it regularly. But I can’t help but ask Irene – Why?! Running the distance is hard enough. Why add some quirky factor like running in high heels? But I see Christians attempting something more challenging (crazy?) in the spiritual realm.

After presenting many examples of people of faith in Hebrews 11, the writer makes this appeal: “Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The Christian life can be compared to running a marathon, except that it is “a life”, not just a one-day race. Earlier in the Hebrews letter the writer said this: “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). Long-distance running can be very challenging, I’m told. At certain points the body wants to quit. Those who are disciplined push through it.

Why make it harder than it has to be? That’s why Hebrews 12:1 urges us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us”. Would anyone (other than the military) run long distances with 40-pound packs on their back? If our main objective is to finish the race, we’ll remove anything that might possibly hinder us.

Am I running this Christian life encumbered by sin and distractions (see Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:9,10)? How much more effective could I be if I stripped away every such nonessential item, keeping my sight focused on the goal: “… looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)?

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.