“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”Eric Liddell, Olympic Runner and Missionary to China.
This last 12 months has been an incredible journey of experiencing God’s pleasure in this sport of ours.
Oct. 21, 2018 I finally ran my first sub4 (3:59:45) here in Detroit/Windsor Marathon. It was a relief to finally have that challenge behind me.
In April I was reduced to tears at the Nashville Rock ‘n Roll St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Hospital fundraiser Marathon. The stories of the brave warriors fighting and beating cancer powered me through the hilly course to a new PB (3:51:42). Inspired also by one of the women on my team fighting cancer I set a goal of getting to 3:45 this year.
A week later I beat my Nashville time in Cincinnati but more importantly I simply loved the joy of running the hills.
After another amazing experience at Comrades I was ready to fully focus on 42.195.
When Sonic wouldn’t stop badgering me I relented and registered for San Francisco. The hills and beauty of the Bay Area brought more joy and more to praise about. After crossing the finish at 3:46:23 my coach (#FranFitLane) decided the goal had to be readjusted to sub3:30. I almost fainted, what craziness! Regardless I (mostly) stuck to the plan – a man needs his Jollof, coconut rice, and dodo from time to time Abeg!
There were low points in the year too. The 5:58:52 with mid-race IV was nowhere in the plan. Yet everything has its purpose and that race definitely taught me perseverance.
Today it all came together. I first knew yesterday that it was going to be a PR but I was thinking 3:40. Race conditions were perfect. Although sleep was spotty at best I awoke with energy. I played the worship song Springa posted on Gidi several times before the race and sang it dozens of times throughout the run because every praise does belong to our God!
The first 5km was at a pace that enabled me to break from the crowd. Climbing the bridge to Canada and running through Windsor was a fun and the pace just kept staying fast. Finally I had to tell myself to slow down so I wouldn’t overwhelm myself. I locked into 5:00/km and held it comfortably. By KM12 it was starting to become obvious today was the day and focus was fully on smart execution.
At KM23 DS one of the volunteers saw my jersey and yelled out “NAIJA NO DEY CARRY LAST”, I replied with a shout of “UP NAIJA!”. That was it! I had a 2-minute buffer on sub3:30 and I was not going to give it up. Several more times the jersey got shout-outs from all sort of people and each time it gave me an extra push.
It took a while to hit me after crossing the finish line. When the Lord blesses it is an awesome thing. Of the nearly 40 marathons I’ve run today required the least amount of effort. I give credit to my coach and her great plan but more than anything I give praise to Him from whom all blessings flow.
Unofficial time 3:28:46
PS: The middle name of today’s winner is Kipyego… oddly familiar.