My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the two runners who collapsed after crossing the finish line of the Cardiff Half-marathon. Unfortunately, Ben McDonald and Dean Fletcher did not survive the cardiac arrest they each suffered soon after completing the race. Just a few hours before this sad incidence, their respective families had wished them good luck, and looked forward to cheering them at the end of the race. Instead of cheers, there was panic and tears.
If you had any reservation against running, this tragedy will further reinforce your stance. However, the fatal outcome should be viewed in proper perspective. This was the first deaths in 15 years of organising this particular event. About 20,000 participated this year. Surely, one death is too much, but even death is not a reason to avoid running. People have died while working. Is that a reason to stay unemployed? There are cases of people dying in their sleep. Should we then harbour the fear of falling asleep? What about the hundreds who sadly die driving their cars? Should we quit driving because of the risk of accidents?
What’s my point? If we fear death, we would not do anything worthwhile in this life. Those who only play it safe are hardly remembered for much good. There will always be a risk factor in anything you want to achieve. Instead of avoiding risk, we should count the cost, choose to run the course and obtain the prize. Choosing not to run because of the risk of death is the real fatality. Too many are burying their talents for all manners of unfounded fears. Their choice is their undoing. No “Well done” from the Father. No reward.
It so happened that Ben and Dean collapsed AFTER they completed their course. They started, endured the rigours of the race and crossed the finish line. Have you started YOUR race? Are you pressing on against the odds? We have been delivered from the fear of death so we can set our faces like a flint and keep going to the end. No retreat. No surrender.
This is a hard talk, but it does not matter HOW we leave this earth as long as we finish our course. Our faith today is built upon the sacrifices of those who loved NOT their lives unto death. Those who love their comfortable places more than their God-given mandate quit when the going gets tough. Thus they preserve their lives at the expense of eternal significance. The choice is ours to make.
I am saddened by the passing of these two runners, but inspired that they ran for charity, and kept running to the end. May their souls rest in peace.
I will keep running… to the end.