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Surprise Reward at the End of Bill Broadhurst’s Marathon

In July 1981, Bill Broadhurst entered the Omaha, Nebraska, Pepsi 10k. Broadhurst is slowed by a brain aneurysm he suffered 10 years earlier, which left him partially paralyzed on the left side. He made it his goal to finish the 10k despite this obstacle. He was determined to run because Bill Rogers, his hero and a world-famous distance runner, was in the race that day. Rogers, great runner that he is, placed first in a time of 29 minutes and 37 seconds. One hour in, for Bill Broadhurst, his partially paralyzed left side started to feel like dead weight. After two hours, the cars were back in the streets, and getting through intersections became difficult. At two hours and twenty minutes the pain was so intense and throbbing, he didn’t think he could go on. Then he saw the end. But as soon as he saw it, his heart sank: the banner was gone and everybody had left. Still, having come this far, he decided to push through to the end. As he approached the finish line, he perceived a small gathering of people off to the side. Then they moved out to greet him, and he saw Bill Rogers at the front crowd. They had been waiting for him. As Broadhurst crossed the finish line, Rogers opened his arms, and hugged him. Rogers took the gold medal from around his own neck, and put it around the neck of the last runner to cross the line. "You’re the winner, man," he said. "You take the gold." What a beautiful picture of our life with Christ. Jesus, the first runner of this race, has not forgotten us, struggling runners that we are. No, he has taken hold of us, he is making us fit for the race, and he is cheering us on toward the goal, and he’s waiting for us to give us the prize that he earned. And so, let us not forget Him Let us fix our eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith, as we live our lives in an unhindered pursuit of his love and grace.

From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Fresh Start, 1/3/2010

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