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The movie, Chariots of Fire is the true story of Eric Liddell, a man who ran for Scotland, then went on to become a missionary. You may recall that he refused to run on the Sabbath, forfeiting some of the awards he probably would have won in the 1924 Olympics.

There was another scene in that movie that may have appeared like Hollywood fiction, but it was also true. One year before the pivotal event in the movie, Eric Liddell ran in a meet between England, Ireland and Scotland. He ran the 100-, 220-, and 440-yard events.

In the 440, he got off to a bad start. When that gun sounded, there was a lot of shoving to get in front to the inside lane, the advantageous position.

Liddell tangled feet with J. J. Gillies of England and tumbled to the track. He sat there dazed for a moment, not knowing whether he could get up, when the official screamed,

"Get up and run!" He jumped to his feet and took off after the pack, which was now a full twenty yards ahead of him. In a quarter mile, that’s a big distance to try to make up. In his unorthodox style of running he took off after the pack. He pulled into fourth place ten yards behind the leader, J. J. Gillies.

With forty yards to go, he pulled into third place, then second. Right at the tape he passed Gillies, stuck his chest out, won the race, and collapsed to the track in total exhaustion. Medical personnel had to assist him off the track that day.

An article appearing the next day in The Scotsman newspaper said, "The circumstances in which Liddell won the race made it a performance bordering on the miraculous. Veterans whose memories take them back thirty-five years and in some cases longer in the history of athletics were unanimous in the opinion that Liddell’s win in the quarter mile was the greatest track performance they had ever seen."

There’s something glorious about getting up off the track after you’ve been knocked down and running again. Win or lose, you didn’t stay down.

Citation: Craig Brian Larson, "Strong to the Finish," Preaching Today, Tape No. 155.

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