Running the Race — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Running the Race — Morning Devotions

Life is like a race, and we are encouraged to run well. The prize of eternal life is for everyone who receive Jesus Christ as Lord.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsTuesday 1 Sep 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes

You may know the name John Landy. John Landy became Victoria’s 25th Governor in 2001, and in his younger years he was a remarkable sportsman for Australia, a former Olympic track athlete.

He was the second man to break the four-minute mile barrier in the mile run, and he held the world records for the 1500-metre run and the mile race. But he will be remembered for something remarkable that happened at the 1956 Australian National Championships.

At that time, John Landy was a champion mile runner and thousands of people had come to the championships to watch him win. In their hearts, they also held the hope that he’d set a new world record. His race started well and by the third lap, the young Ron Clarke and he were in the lead. Clarke was running just in front of Landy, when another runner tried to squeeze between them. Clarke tripped and fell, so all the runners had to jump over him.

When Landy jumped, he accidentally cut Clarke’s shoulder with his spikes. At that moment, Landy did the most amazing thing. He stopped, ran back to Clarke and helped him to his feet. He brushed the cinders from Clarke’s knees, checked his bleeding shoulder and apologised. Clarke wasn’t badly hurt and urged Landy to keep going. Straightaway, they both took off, but they were now at least 50 metres behind the rest of the field.

The Last Sprint of the Race

In that last half mile, Landy sprinted. The crowd was on its feet and cheering when he finally caught up to the front two runners, stormed past them and won the race. As Landy did a victory lap, the applause didn’t die down. Nobody cared that he hadn’t broken the world record. They’d witnessed the greatest mile race in history. Landy went on to set new world records and become a hero at the 1956 Olympics. But nothing ever compared to that summer night in Melbourne, when he forgot himself and stopped to help young Ron Clarke. This was the act of a fine sportsman.

In the crowd that day was Gordon Moyes who later wrote, “He did the most stupid, beautiful, foolish, gentlemanly act I have ever seen.” Many agreed with Gordon saying it was one of the finest actions in the history of sport. In fact, what John Landy did was to sacrifice his own chance of a world record to go to the aid of a fallen rival. Roger Bannister’s coach said, “That’s the most gallant action I have seen in a lifetime”.

What an amazing unselfish act. In 1955 he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to sport. Later in life he served the community with distinction. His life and deeds should inspire us all, running our own race in life. The lesson of life that Landy taught us is that we shouldn’t be so concerned with the position in which we finish, nor how we compare with others, but in how we run our race—how well we serve others in our community, our country and, especially, how we help those who fall.

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by

And the highlight of his life? John Landy said: “My marriage. I’ve got an excellent marriage, two great kids. I would say that’s the best part of my life. If I didn’t win a gold medal, it’s sufficient to say that I did far, far better than I ever thought I would do when I started out.” Which hardly sounds like a failure.

Run Well the Race of Life

In fact it sounds like the Bible’s teaching—in 1 Corinthians 9:24 (CEV) it says: “Many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So, run to win”. Life is like a race, and we are encouraged to run well. Do your best to win the prize. In New Testament times, they had the Isthmian Games, the equivalent of our Olympics. They were held every two years 10 miles outside the city of Corinth. It was the sporting event of the year. Winners received a lifetime exemption from paying taxes and serving in the military—so it was a big deal!

Life is like the race of life. How well are you running? Do you get involved in life, helping others, changing your attitude if necessary, not giving up if you feel defeated in life with its hurdles and problems? The Apostle Paul, in another of his letters in the Bible, put it like this: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 – NASB).

  • Are you prepared to put in the effort to be a vital part of your local community?
  • Do you care for others?

I like the quote from Benjamin Disraeli who said, “The secret to success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes”. Intriguing statement I believe. You and I don’t know what’s around the corner. In the Greek games, only one person received the prize.

Not so for those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord. The prize of eternal life is for everyone. The Bible puts it this way, “Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:25 – CEV). I hope you’re doing something worthwhile with your life. Ask God to show you what it is.