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Run with Endurance
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In 1983, Australia hosted its ultra marathon, a 573.7 mile foot race from Sydney to Melbourne. This is a race that takes days to run, and professionals from all over the world came to participate. Shortly before the race began, a 61-year-old farmer named Cliff Young, wearing overalls and goulashes over his boots, walked up to the registration table and requested a number to enter the race. The people at the registration table thought it was a joke—that somebody was setting them up—so they laughed. But Cliff Young said, "No, I'd really like to run." So they gave him a number and pinned it on his old overalls.
Cliff Young walked over to the start of the race. All the other professional runners, who were decked out in all their running regalia, looked at him like he was crazy. The crowd snickered. They laughed even more when the gun went off and the race began, because all those professional runners had sculpted bodies and beautiful strides, but not Cliff Young. He didn't even run like a runner. Cliff Young ran with an awkward, goofy-looking shuffle. All through the crowd people were laughing, and finally, someone called out, "Get that old fool off the track!"

Without Ever Sleeping
Five days, 14 hours, and four minutes later, at 1:25 in the morning, Cliff Young shuffled across the finish line of the 573.7 mile ultra marathon. He had won the race. And he didn't win by a matter of minutes or even an hour or two. The second place runner was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. Cliff Young had set a new world record for the ultra marathon. The press mobbed him wondering what kind of special running shoes he must have had, and they rummaged through his backpack wondering what he'd survived on—he'd lived primarily on pumpkin seeds and water--and then they discovered the secret to his success: Cliff Young had shuffled his way to victory without ever sleeping. The other runners would run for 18 hours straight, and then stop and sleep for three or four hours. He endured running five days, 14 hours, and four minutes at the age of 61.*
Check out this verse of Scripture: "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." (Hebrews 12:1).
People are watching us, and with God's help we can run the race that has been placed before us. 

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

* From David Allen's sermon, "Running with Endurance."

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