Speed Doesn’t Always Win a Race

A few years ago, on a family vacation, I had a profound experience that reminded me of some basic, sound principles: the fastest runner isn’t always the one who wins the race.

I was riding bikes with one of my best friend’s son. At the time he was 14. He wasn’t a super athletic kid but far leaner and in much better shape than I was. Obviously, he weighed far less too. A typical teenager who had spent many hours on a bicycle. I too ride but mostly in the summer. It is one of my favorite forms of exercise.

We were heading back to the cabin after a 30 minute leisure ride.  About a few blocks away from the cabin, he instantly stood up on the pedals and took off, leaving me in the dust. It only took a second or two for my competitive side take hold and… it was on!

I stood up on the pedals and threw every ounce of energy I had left into catching him. It didn’t take long and I was gaining on him. About 20 seconds later, I was right behind him! By now, the only thought that kept running through my head was: “You got him, keep going, keep going!”

He saw me coming and aggressively was back on the pedals hard, going for it. Another half a block or so and passing him wasn’t looking so promising. It was obvious he was putting everything he had into it and was not giving up without a serious fight. My legs were starting to hurt and I was quickly running out of breath. But that competitive side of me kept yelling: GO, GO come on, GO!  You can’t lose!

I continued to push on, holding my ground, not gaining, nor losing. We were only a few houses from the cabin and I was running out of road and time to make my move. By now, my body could not get enough oxygen and my legs were screaming. I guess it didn’t help that we were at 6000 feet in altitude either. But I refused to quit!  Literally, a second or two before my body was to just give out, he quit pedaling and I passed him, beating him to the cabin. I had won!

Light headed, gasping for air, legs vigorously shaking, barely able to walk…  I must have been something fairly entertaining to look at.  10 minutes went by and I regained my composure. “Why did you quit” I asked. “You were so close to winning.”  His reply surprised me; “Because I could tell you weren’t going to quit and I didn’t think I had it in me.”

This event reminded me of a basic, sound principal for creating the kind of life we want: Never, never, give up.  It’s not always about being the fastest or even the best. It’s more about not giving up, working your tail off even if it doesn’t feel good or like you are making any headway. It’s more about staying the course, once you know you’re on the right course. It’s going just a little further and a little harder, even when you don’t think you can. Races are not always won by the fastest runner, they are won by the one who refuses to quit running.

Two, maybe three seconds made all the difference in who won that race. There were no big trophies, no medals, not even a crowd at the finish line cheering us on upon crossing. Just our own perseverance and determination, pushing us. (Yes, maybe even a little ego on my part, I’m big enough to admit that).

It this case, it didn’t matter that the odds were seriously slanted in his favor, probably by 75 lbs and 29 years’ worth. What mattered was, who was willing to keep going even when they didn’t feel like it.

All too often, it’s that tiny bit of time, sometimes a millisecond, which can make all the difference in 1st or 2nd place. Consider it the hinge pin to which winning and losing, success and failure, rest upon.

Have a fantastic week, be blessed.


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  1. Gabriel Wanyama

    I absolutely see how it was, my comment is that always when we have Patience in everything comes in front of us, we can achieve what we need. My mentor i know that God put you in place where by you suit to make my ministry grow and expand through your advice and counseling. I pray that as God lives,please your prayers to my ministry is needed and also if God wishes we need you to visit so that you train and preach to the churches in ministry[ we organize a conference for you to teach]. Thank you for encouraging.

  2. Tracy Gannaway

    I needed to read this today. I moved my business in with another business. A business made up of very young, vital trainers. We cross network often. My clients who have been with me for several years are now attending some of the classes the other business offers. This is what inspired me to join this business, however I am seeing gains in my clients that I cannot take credit for. Just recently the other business has been taking lots of credit for their gains on social media. It kind of stung a bit. Me being an older trainer, I feel alittle inferior. I’ve been talking myself into changing my path, who knows maybe it’s time to change my path. I love inspiring, helping, and encouraging others. You words of not giving up really inspired me. Love to you and yours! Thank you.

  3. Scott, you’re right about being determined. Over the years I’ve known many people that gave up before completing a project, job/career, athletic accomplishment, etc. Many were very capable (via education, natural talent, etc.); but, they simply were unwilling to do what had to be done, which included discomfort (emotional as well as physical).
    Have a great day! Andy

  4. Great story Scott. Thank you for the reminder to not give up, even when you think you should.

    Happy Holidays

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