One of the big races of the year — the Army Half Marathon (AHM) — for me is only hours away now.
I’m heading into the race with the following Bible verse from Philippians 4:7 on my mind: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
I feel this verse speaks to me just before this race.
Heading into the same race last year on the back of a 1:18 time trial during my army unit’s team selection (after also having done 1:18 in the previous year’s AHM enroute to 4th position), I think I had been a little overconfident.
In the early kilometres of the race, a competitor I knew would challenge to be amongst the top locals had overtaken me with a pace I knew better than to go with. But instead of listening to my body, I listened to my heart (which can be self-destructive in a race).
So, I began struggling even at the halfway mark and the race simply went downhill from there as I faded outside the top 10 and also outside a time of 1:20.
That is why before races, I think it is important to seek God in prayer. For to do so is to humble oneself, weak and fallible before God, and to be open to the receipt of the afore-mentioned “peace of God” which will “guard [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” against our selfish and egotistic intentions before a race.
So, as I head off to sleep, I go with the prayer that I will have the same confidence, in toeing the line hours later, David had when speaking the following words from 2 Samuel 22:33-34: “God is my strength and power: and he makes my way perfect. / He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on high places.”