I ran in Saturday's Richmond Marathon with Ryan Mills. Who's he? He was the first place finisher with a time of 2:28. Was he fast? Sure was. Did he put one foot in front of the other like all the other finishers? Absolutely. That's what I love about the marathon. Each runner achieves a personal victory. Others will finish in front of you or behind you, but all this means is that their personal victory is different from yours.
Take that person who finished behind me on Saturday, maybe even by an hour or two. Just because they may have had less talent or various other limiting factors doesn't mean they achieved a lesser victory than me. In fact, theirs may have been a far greater victory. That's the beauty of a marathon. There are many more "winners" than those runners who break the tape or who win their age group awards. I hate cliches, but "Everyone's a winner" is true.
In my classes, not every student achieves the same grade at the end of the semester. What matters is that each tried their best with what they had. In that sense, a "C" student may have achieved a far greater "victory" than an "A" student. It seems like only yesterday when I dropped out of my first Greek class at Biola after only 3 weeks. When I eventually did finish my first year of Greek, I felt like a champion.
A 5-, 6-, or even 7-hour marathon isn't slow. Slow is never signing up for the race. Slow is stopping your training before the race starts. Slow is starting the race and not finishing it. That's what slow is. To me, the real judge of my personal success is whether I actually do something positive with the opportunities God gives me.
How about you?