(Previously published on 3 March, 2015)
So only a few days ago the world was captivated by the amazing spirit of Hyvon Ngetich, the Kenyan marathon runner who not only refused a wheel chair when she collapsed 50 metres to the finish line in Austin Texas, but also shockingly crawled her way through to finish the race in third place. Like wow! It was so inspiring that it was covered by most of the media houses, and written on by many reporters and bloggers, of which many described her as brave, tough, inspiring, heroic, elite, and determined amongst other things.1-10And all she is indeed; cause not many people (I included) can do what she did if they were in her shoes; and even if they desired to. Now I doubt what she did was medically safe. But my… that lady is a fighter!
Two things caught my attention as I watched the video clip of her journey from collapsing to crawling and reaching the finish line. I am going to talk about them in two parts, over two weeks. This week is about THE JOURNEY.
Isn’t it interesting that it was not Cynthia Jerop who won the race that made the headlines? Rather it was the one whofinished against all odds, using her legs, hands and every left over strength in her who did. She couldn’t run but she refused to stall; so she crawled. It looked terrible, but she was prepared to finish anyway. Saliva dripped from her mouth. Her knees were sore. She was disoriented and exhausted. Yet she kept going. In her words, “Running always… you have to keep going”. Now in the context of this story, obviously the aim of a running race is to win it. So I have to give honour to whom honour is due and say a big well done to Cynthia Jerop for winning. But I am pretty certain that even if Hyvon Ngetich came last, what she did to get to the finish line would still have brought her to the limelight.
For me this story exemplifies the famous statement – ‘It’s not how long, but how well’. So often we worry about timing. We get discouraged when we start a journey with a friend but appear to be lacking behind. I mean I see this all the time. For example two people are friends who start school at the same time in the same class, and one finishes two years ahead, because the other struggled to keep up, or had life throw them hard balls. Or a different and very commonly occurring scenario where two friends are of similar age and aspiring for all the good things of life, but one seems to have it better -for example, a better job with greater pay, gets married earlier, has kids with ease, or has a portfolio of houses, while the other friend appears to be lacking behind on one or all fronts. It could be discouraging; I agree. I myself have experienced that pain once or twice. But one thing I have come to accept is – Everyone is running their own race. No comparisons.
Life is such that some of us will get things more quickly, while for some others, things may take five times longer. In many cases, some of us will initially be ahead of others but then face unplanned challenges along the way that set aback and slow the journey, while some others will have their lives start slow, but have their journeys accelerated at some point. There also are those whose life journeys will run at a constant pace; slow or fast, the journey steadily continues. It’s all about how life feeds it to you.
Yet,… It is not who comes first, who comes last, or how long it takes. It is all about what you have to overcome to get where you need to go, and how hard you try to keep going even when the chips are down. So don’t compare your race to that of anyone else. Just keep to your lane and stay focused. The story of your journey will make it all worth it. Keep going.
And Oh! I have to say this with no hesitation… I salute you Ms Ngetich!
** It is not how quickly you finish but how well you fought to finish against all odds mindset**
Have any thoughts on the journey of life and like to share? Why not do so in the comments box below.
© Dr Vivian O. Ikem, 2015
- http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/16/us/austin-marathon-finish-line-crawl/ ; 2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31513159 ; 3. http://metro.co.uk/2015/02/16/brave-marathon-runner-crawls-to-finish-line-after-she-collapses-5065484/ ; 4.http://news.health.com/2015/02/18/watch-this-inspiring-professional-runner-crawl-across-the-finish-line-of-a-marathon/ ; 5. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/athletics/watch-brave-kenyan-runner-crawl-across-the-finish-line-during-gruelling-austin-marathon-10052248.html ; 6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11418861/Exhausted-marathon-runner-refuses-to-give-up.html ; 7. http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/feb/19/marathon-runner-crawls-across-line-texas-video ; 8. http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardhjames/marathon-runner-shows-incredible-determination-and-crawls-ov ; 9. http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/02/18/female-kenyan-runner-collapses-during-marathon-gets-back-up-crawls-finishes-3rd-2/ ; 10. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/17/hyvon-ngetich-crawls-finish-line-austin-marathon-2015_n_6697488.html