Spectator or Athlete?


I have struggled with becoming a runner, even seeing myself as one. I started training the winter of 2017 for a spring 2018 5K. As I was training I finally began to begin to see myself as a runner, if that makes sense. I did complete the 5K in February of 2018 and survived! It was a great experience and I felt proud of myself for actually doing it. After the race, I continued to jog as part of my workout. Then in April I had a setback–a rib & back problem that kept me from running for several weeks. I felt discouraged, like it had really  set me back & I would basically have to start my training over when it healed. 

I sometimes think, maybe I'm just not meant to be a runner. Maybe I'm too old & my body just can't handle it.

Fast forward to the London Marathon on Sunday, April 22, 2018. I was actually able to travel to London for this event. It was a spectacular trip. My husband had been training for several months to participate in his first full marathon. He is a ‘go big or go home’ kinda guy, so his first marathon was in LONDON!! He was running with 20 other athletes representing Team World Vision. Each runner found new sponsors for kids in Africa in order to be on the team. Incredible organization and an amazing team of special people.


My husband understands my struggle. He has been by my side for over 32 years and knows my issues with self esteem and body confidence. So he told me to watch the shapes & sizes of people running the marathon. So I watched. As a spectathlete (a special word to describe the team of cheerleaders with Team World Vision), I was fully engaged in cheering on not only our World Vision team but all runners. As I cheered, I watched. I was amazed at the shapes, sizes & ages of runners. I saw many older people, significantly older than I. Also amazed at body size, many much heavier than I. So I began to think, maybe I can be a runner.

Then I saw a man who looked like he may have cerebral palsy, running in the race!

His gait was odd, his hands were misshapen & awkward, his face was crooked & constantly twitching. Seeing this man wrecked me. Tears just instantly poured down my face. I thought, “Wow, he is amazing! If he can run a marathon with CP, surely I can do more than I’m doing.” At that moment I heard God whisper in my ear, “You can be a runner. But I want you to run for children, not for yourself.”

Have you ever heard God speak to you?

It wasn’t an audible voice, but He was speaking directly to my heart. For me, running for children means getting more involved with World Vision and finding events that I can participate in as a runner.

Part of my journey as No Longer a Bystander is saying YES to opportunities that may cross my path. The old me would automatically say NO without really thinking about it. When I set my intention to become FULLY ENGAGED in LIFE, it began to change the way I see myself. There is such power in that. What can you say YES to this week? Maybe it’s something you feel you should’ve done a long time ago. Like write a letter or make a phone call. Maybe you are like me and you need to get more active and get in better shape. Whatever it is, I challenge you to just say YES and take an action step forward. You will not regret it!

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