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Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

I have been having visions of a turkey running around a track for the past 2 weeks. I can’t help myself; the annual Turkey Trot is about to be run this year in Tallahassee. I have also been wondering if any of my readers will be running in this wonderful annual event.

I’m well aware that most of you probably are not runners. Indeed, there are some of you who could not run if you wanted to because of a disability or advanced age or you simply are not into running. That is fine.

Those of you who do run regularly or on occasion have most likely experienced the natural high this sport can provide. If you have ever run a road race with plain, ordinary folk like myself, you know what I am talking about.

Running in a Turkey Trot or road race on Thanksgiving morning is just about my favorite event of the year. What better way to celebrate life or being alive than to get up early on Thanksgiving morning and run a few miles! It is the ultimate Thanksgiving for me, offering a warm, sincere “thank you” to my savior for allowing me another year of life and providing me with a body and mind healthy enough to participate in such an event.

I’d be the first to share with you that at 68 these races get a little harder for me each year. On the last two Saturdays I have run at least a 5K (3.1 miles), just to be sure I can still run that far without killing myself.

I will be running my 20th Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning! Most of the years that I have run a Turkey Trot were in Connecticut where I used to drive to Madison, down on the usually cold and windy shoreline of Long Island Sound. The distance for that race was 5 miles.

This was an especially glorious race for me because I was able to run alongside some of my students and their families. Many is the time that someone would tap me on the shoulder or call out my name. I would then be greeted by a colleague or former student, many of whom were then enrolled in college or a member of the work force.

After the race one could enjoy a cup of clam chowder, fruit or even a beer. The Madison (Conn.) Jaycees were wonderful providers and sponsors. The aura after a race was charged with so much bliss and thanksgiving; it was incredible!

As I have been training or making sure that I can still run the distance lately, Bible verses keep entering my mind. They kind of instill a guilty feeling within as I am not doing my utmost to win the race. Frankly, I’m afraid if I do it might be my last race.

I’ll bet most of you know one of those verses when Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul, of course, is referring to more than running a race. He is at the end of his life and is reflecting back over 30 years of doing his utmost to bring men to Jesus Christ.

This morning Pastor Teresa MacBain was preaching from a scripture I had just read to the congregation: “eeForgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3: 13). That is, Paul didn’t gloat on past achievements but pressed ever onward toward Heaven and eternal life.

Runners strain toward the finish mark ahead, pressing toward the prize. In our daily lives, hopefully, we strain hard to win the prize of eternal life that Jesus Christ has promised us.

God bless you and hope to see at least one of you at the Turkey Trot in Tally.

E-mail suggestions or comments to coot5864@ hotmail.com.