12 Ways Comrades Marathon Has Strengthened My Walk With God

How To Become Wealthy

Christianity is a fascinating journey.

Much like our physical journey starts at infancy and progresses up until we are adults, our spiritual journey follows the exact pattern.

When we are infants – we are completely dependent on others, in particular our parents. We are completely oblivious to what is happening around us.

Likewise, when we start out on our spiritual journey, we are completely dependent on others to help us grow. God provides a supportive structure through spiritual parents, a spiritual home and spiritual brothers and sisters to help us grow spiritually.

As we grow in the physical, we mature. We learn to become less dependent on others. We learn to solve problems and start contributing to our environment. Eventually we grow old enough to help our own parents.

Spiritually, we follow the same pattern. God wants us to grow mature enough to serve Him. We serve Him by becoming problem solvers so He can use us.

However, in all this growth – both physically and spiritually – we come across the complexities of life. We get confused. We get tired when some challenges seem too large. We blame others.

But in all this complexity, God wants to simplify our lives and help us navigate our way through our spiritual maturity. He does so through small and big metaphors.

In my life, one of the metaphors God has used is my running, in particular the Comrades Marathon, to show his wonders. In this post I want to share how the Comrades Marathon has strengthened my walk with God.

1. There’s no manipulating God

You can’t cheat Comrades. If you don’t train adequately, the results will show on the big day.

Likewise, trying to manipulate God is a waste of time. Pretending our hearts are full of love, compassion, patience, etc when in fact we just putting up a façade will show in the long run.

Pretending you want to serve God when all you want is material blessings is manipulation.

God wants us to be genuine.

2. God wants commitment from us

Comrades requires commitment. You need to dedicate your time, money and talents if you want to see results.

Likewise, God wants us to serve Him with our time, money and talents. He wants ALL of us.

Sadly, we often want to serve God when we feel like it. We want to serve God when it suits us.

When we are ‘busy’ and things are going well, we feel it is fine to put God on “park mode”.

Without commitment, we will never experience the fullness of God’s grace.

3. God’s greatest blessings have nothing to do with material

The Comrades Marathon sees approximately 15 000 athletes get to the starting line.

Of those, ONLY 10 get prize money.

What do the rest get for recognition? A mere medal!

Beyond the medal, what we really get is the full benefits of running and the greatest fulfillment that can never be expressed enough in words.

That fulfilment is a blessing in abundance.

God is no different. His Peace can’t be bought. He brings peace into our lives that results in fulfillment that can’t be expressed enough. That fulfillment often has very little or nothing to do with money or materials!

4. God places incredible angels in our lives to help us

You can never participate in the Comrades without the help of others.

Whilst I do a lot of my training on my own – largely because I train mid-week when most are at work – I understand that the help of others is immeasurable.

I have an amazing family. My younger sister, mother and father are amazing when it comes to supporting me. In fact, when I saw my younger sister at the half-way mark of Comrades 2015, I knew I had to finish despite the incredible amount of pain I was going through as a result of an injury.

Below is a moving post from her, post the race:

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During my training runs, I have no less than ten taxi’s that hoot, whistle and flick their lights in support. (Yeah, I know those dudes are sometimes good for something…).

I often use filling stations as my pit stops. At those filling stations, I have forged invaluable relationship with petrol attendants. We have amazing chats and they motivate me all the time.

On weekends, I run with a group of veteran runners. They give me incredible advice.

On race day, the crowd is magnificent. I would say they contribute about 30% towards our ability to finish.

God has placed all these people as angels. Angels will not come flying down, dressed all in white and singing spiritual hymns. Angels are everyday people that God places in our lives to help us appreciate life and achieve extra-ordinary goals.

5. You are never just a number

There are thousands of runners who start the Comrades every year.

Each one has a unique racing number. Each one is designated a running chip (the green gadget on my running shoes below) that is linked to that race number:

comrades marathon

Throughout the day, that chip records your info. At the end when you punch that number into the Comrades website, it populates your unique results.

When you punch that same number into the Jetline Action Photo website, it populates your pictures.

Despite the thousands, you are never just a number.

Likewise with God, it may often seem like you are just a number. You can often get ‘lost’ in the hundreds or thousands at church or the millions of people that walk this journey. BUT, in his eyes, you are NEVER just a number.

You are unique and He treats you as such.

6. You will feel like giving up

Running Comrades will have you asking yourself: “why on earth am I putting myself through such?”

You will want to quit the race at least once.

Your body will shut down. At times you will cramp up or feel nauseas. Not to mention the adverse weather conditions.

With all these challenges, you’ve just got to press on and believe you will finish.

Walking with God is no child’s play. He will take you through numerous tests. Why? Because he wants to build your spiritual muscles and make you a much better person – one who is adequately equipped for serving God.

Along your walk with God, you WILL consider giving up and turning at some point. But, in his book titled “Don’t Turn, Let God Turn It”, Pastor Andre Olivier aptly describes the way we should respond to the temptation to give up and turn our backs on God when times are tough.

7. Walking with God is a lifestyle

You will never run the Comrades if running and general physical health is not a lifestyle.

You have to train regularly – be it running or cross-training.

Training once a week just won’t cut it!

Likewise, God wants our relationship with Him to be a lifestyle.  Not a Sunday event, where we hype ourselves up and become all spiritual on Sunday and then return to old habits during the week.

8. God wants us to serve Him uniquely

We are all gifted differently. Some runners are naturally gifted and are there to win the race.

Others are great at leading and take up the responsibility of “pace-setting” or running a “bus”.

There are those who inspire others through their singing or words of encouragement. Then there are those who are creative and dress up on the day of Comrades.

Ultimately, no two runners are the same. We have been gifted differently. But we all have one common cause – to finish Comrades.

As children of God, we have different gifts. But we all have the same objective – to serve the body of Christ. We are not there to compete but complement one another.

9. God determines the final result

Ultimately, when all is said and done, God is in control.

We can train hard, but on the day, the result can never be determined by us as individuals.

In the 2015 race, both the male and female races were won by underdogs.

The Russian twins were given a thorough beating by Caroline Wostmann, who won by over 20 minutes.

In the men’s race, Gift Kelehe came in almost 8 minutes ahead of the second-placed runner.

No one could have predicted these results at the start of the day.

I started the morning hoping to finish within 9 hours, worst case scenario being a finish within the 10-hour mark. I eventually finished in a time of 11hrs 13mins.

God wants us to work hard but he determines the ultimate result. Sadly, we frustrate ourselves by wanting to submit to God but still have full control over our lives.

10. He wants to shift us from the “Blame Game”

I’ve already mentioned how many people selflessly assist others on Comrades day. However, the ultimate responsibility to finish on race day lies with ME. It is MY responsibility.

We live in a world where taking responsibility is unpopular. We are too quick to blame others. Comrades teaches one to take personal responsibility.

God has placed a massive support structure to help us grow spiritually. But, He ultimately wants us to take personal responsibility for our spiritual growth. He expects us to read His Word and Pray regularly so we can stop blaming others when we don’t grow spiritually.

11. God wants to humble us

The Comrades Marathon will humble you.

It will make you appreciate life from a completely different paradigm.

In the end, you will begin to appreciate life despite its many challenges. You will wake up everyday with enthusiasm even when things make little sense.

People often ask me: “why do you keep going back to Comrades?”

In response, I often giggle. But deep inside I have humbling and life-changing reasons that keep me going back to Comrades.

Likewise, God wants to humble us and get us off our high horses. At that point, we begin to view life differently. We begin to appreciate how beautiful life is and how much He has loved us and how abundant His grace was, is and forever will be.

12. He wants all the glory

On the day of Comrades, the day belongs to Comrades.

The Comrades spirit comes out on top throughout the day.

Likewise, God wants all the glory.

Yes, it feels great to celebrate. Yes, it feels awesome to look back at your training and say: “I deserve this”.

But, in all this, God wants us to remember that all the strength and wisdom to train comes from Him. All the strength and health to run on the day, comes from Him.

As such, He deserves ALL the glory and wants us to acknowledge Him.

Conclusion

I’ve been a long distance runner for 6 years. I’ve run 4 Comrades Marathons and completed them successfully.

I’ve been a Christian for the same amount of time – 6 years.

I have seen how long distance running has practically showed me some of God’s mysteries.

I am no veteran when it comes to running. I also consider myself young in my walk with God. So, I don’t profess to know it all when it comes to running and Christianity, but I appreciate fully the little I have learnt.

When the chips are low and all seems lost, I hope this post can help you get back on your feet and know that if you are a child of the Almighty, He will never abandon you.

God Bless!

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