The Cowtown Marathon and Smiles at Mile 17

My daughter had been telling me how much fun it was to have The Cowtown Marathon pass right in front of their house the last Sunday of February. We decided to take some vacation time that coincided with that event in 2019. It really was a blast! I returned in 2020 just before the pandemic shut down the world. We returned for the resumption of the full marathon in 2022 after they went virtual in 2021.

The neighborhood in the Texas Christian University area uses the event as an excuse for a block party. Neighbors gather up and down the street to cheer on the runners as well as give out water, pickles, bananas, bandaids and vaseline (runners know why). One neighbor blasts music complete with professional sound system and d.j. Kids play and parents party. However, I’m on my recumbent trike taking pictures!

Of course! I have to take pictures, and it’s hard to know when to stop. From the first speedsters to the last strollers, I usually get everyone’s pic. However, I was having a camera malfunction last year and shot several frames with my backup when I realized the shots were extremely overexposed. A runner saw my pics on Instagram and asked if I got his pic. As I searched the time at which he passed by, I could only deduce that he was in the overexposed section. We’ve become Instagram friends and I hope to redeem myself this year.

Since I’m not doing this professionally, it’s hard to know if any of the runners see their pics. Because of the overwhelming number of shots, I made a video montage last year, I titled it “Smiles at Mile 17.” I decided that will be my hashtag for photos on Facebook and Instagram this year. We’ll see if that strategy works.

Here is last year’s video.

The 2022 Cowtown Marathon – Smiles at Mile 17

If you’re running The Cowtown Marathons on February 26, 2023, I hope to capture your Smiles at Mile 17!

Running to Win

I mentioned in my previous blog about our trip to Fort Worth, and that I wanted to tell you about an event we watched transpire in front of my daughter’s home. The Cowtown Marathon course runs right through her neighborhood. The residents were up early, preparing water, bananas, band aids, and even beer (for carbs) for the runners.  It is quite a festive time for the spectators, who use it as a time to “party” while cheering on the runners.

What caught my attention was the transformation of marathoners from the first runner to the last ones who passed this 17 mile mark of this 26.2 mile run.  The first runner passed by us with just over a five minute per mile pace. The last ones came strolling by four hours later (a 19 minute per mile pace) with an obvious “eat, drink and be merry” attitude, apparently imbibing in every treat that was offered along the route.  Appearing out of shape, improperly dressed and walking, these last ones were a stark contrast from the disciplined, serious leaders.

It reminded me of the spiritual pace of which Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26: Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim.

While only one may win an earthly race, every Christian can win the eternal race for we don’t compete against each other. The man of faith fights against the devil, the flesh and the world. He wins as they lose—A.W. Tozer. Our heavenly reward will be awaiting us if we run with a commitment to overcome these tempting foes!

Warren Wiersbe said: Of course, it is much easier to be a spectator than a participant—except when the event is over and they give out the prizes. Then we will wish we had gotten out of the stands and joined the team. It isn’t too late to start running.

How are you running the spiritual race? Is it with an aim for the finish line or a leisurely stroll, imbibing in all the world has to offer? Let’s make sure we are not just spectators, but participants in the most important marathon of our lives!  Let’s cheer one another on is this race!