I always have trouble writing these race reports, because you see I write these reports to be able to remember everything that happened. I don't write these to pat myself on the back. Especially the "Last Place Finisher" race reports. The goal of last place finishing is to give yourself away to the race, to its participants, staff, the city and families that support the race. We had a get group of MSM brothers there to give themselves away, and hopefully we did just that.
Dennis, Andrew, and his wife Kim met at my house at 9:30. We packed up and left to meet the rest of the crew in Anderson at noon. When we got there I chatted and prayed with Sean, then we manned the booth
and had a number of people come by and were very interested in Multisport Ministries. After 2pm we headed over to drop off the bikes in T1, Near T1 on the road Dennis' bike tried to come off the car, but
luckily we were moving only 5 mph, so we stopped and fixed it. After dropping the bikes off it was back to the booth for Tri Inspire. I must admit most times we only get 2-3 people show up to Tri Inspire,
but today we had 15 or so so I was very happy with the turnout. But even if one shows we do have our message. With Joe, Andrew, and Myself there I made the Tri Inspire topic "The Last Place Finisher."
I spoke about what the last place finisher is, and why as a club we do it. and at the end of my message I read this verse from Matthew 20:16
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
The Preface to that short passage I should have read as well. Jesus' answer to him was revolutionary then and it still is today. He said:
"I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And
everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be
last, and many who are last will be first."
Basically what Jesus is getting at here is that if we want to follow Him, we have to abandon the worldly race to the top and instead follow wherever He leads us. And while we may or may not enjoy earthly
applause here, in heaven our efforts will be recognized for eternity.
You see in Jesus' kingdom, coming in at number one here on this earth has little significance and that is why he said that many of those who are in first here will be last, then and many who are last now then
will be first. That doesn't mean that those in first place now are doomed for destruction. I think what Jesus is getting at here is that if we're so consumed with the worldly race, our focus isn't on the kingdom of God and so while we may be a top CEO here with a BMW in the driveway of our large estate, that's not going to mean a thing when we get to heaven.
and the point is... Whenever you cross that finish line THEN WHAT? Finishing an earthly race is cool for a little bit, but it too fades away. I hope to record my message from Tri Inspire, so all of the members of MSM and all people who race will think about Finishing Last.
After the message I asked the group for prayer requests.. It was silent at first, but then a couple from Florida spoke up. Their situation was that they were supposed to race together with Rev3 Anderson
being his first 70.3, but his wife was suffering with a lung infection, and he wanted her to get well, and he wanted his anxiety about not having his racing partner there to race with him. I told him he is NOT alone and that God will be right next to him on race day. He had a great race and joined MSM yesterday! Another couple was anxious about dad being the Sherpa, and there were some other prayer requests.
Then we prayed for all of them and with that Tri Inspire was over. the crowd dispersed, and it was time for dinner.
Transition opened at 5:30 and we arrived at 5:45. Everybody got setup and met back to get the bus to T1. Once at T1 I setup my transition and found Sean for a morning prayer. Before the 70.3 went off at around 7:30 Sean announced that anyone wanting to participate in a pre race prayer and message should gather under a tree near the swim start. of the 250 people on the beach, anywhere from 50-60 people came to gather under the tree. I was in awe and very thankful! II told that by coming to the tree that they are the hands and feet of God on the course, and to have a great race, but to look for opportunities to be called on during the race to help another. With a quick prayer we dispersed, and I gave the pre race prayer before the National Anthem.
All of the 70.3 swimmers entered the water, with Andrew being the last to enter. Before Andrew left all of us prayed for safety, and then he was off. I would see Andrew again until the run of the half marathon. I waited until the last wave of Olympic racers were off before I entered the water.
Within a few minutes I had caught the last place swimmer, and I swam with her the whole way. She was slow, but she never stopped so I just swam next to her. We were in the water 56 minutes.
The last place swimmer was named Nancy, and she thanked me for swimming with her. She also was in last place on the bike. She was very quiet, but at one point she asked why I was riding with her. She told me she was always last, and no one has ever ridden with her before. I told her I was sent from Atlanta to swim and ride with her. She started blurting out names of people that she knew that could have sent me. I gave her a hint by telling her to look at my jersey. The Multisport Ministries Jersey. She said in a loud voice GOD?! At that point she told me her entire “religious history”, and that she no longer attends church, and she didn't want me to cram religion “down her throat”. Point of Fact.
Some triathletes are Christians, but not all of them.
I told her I was not here to cram religion “down her throat”, to which her response was no kidding “THANK GOD” it took everything I had not to point out her hypocrisy, but I was reminded at that moment that we are here on earth to serve not judge. We rode the rest of the way slowly and shared small talk that did not pertain to “religion” It was definitely a seed planting ride. Nancy was an aqua biker and once we came in from the bike she thanked and hugged me, and I had a runner to catch.
The Run (Part 1)
I got with Rev 3 staff because I was very worried that I would not be able to catch the last place runner before the finish given my very slow ride. With 5-10 minutes they located him at the 5k mark, at which point I blazed out to catch him. Mile 1, 7:08 Mile 2 7:18, Mile 3 7:25. The Rev3 golf cart approached me and said I wouldn't catch him before the finish, as he was running again. After a half mile ride in the golf cart, I was within a quarter mile of him, and he was 400m from the finish. I chased him down, but he didn't say a word to me as I introduced myself. We crossed the finish line with other 70.3 athletes and he disappeared. God wasn't done with me yet.
The Run (Part 2)
I was still feeling good, so I had decided to see if Andrew wanted company with the last place athlete. Andrew being so low key didn't even blink and said “sure”. Looks like I have a half marathon to run.
Out on course it was 3 guys just out for a workout. Richard P was the last place guy. He had several bike issues early in the bike and was ready to quit until Andrew came upon him. Andrew kept him positive despite the mechanical issues. I will defer to Andrew’s race report for the bike, as I was not there. But on this run we kept it light and I challenged Richard P to run the downhills and to certain landmarks. We ran just under half of the 13.1 miles. Once in the chute Richard P went in first, with Andrew behind him. I kneeled down in the chute to give thanks, and just like that Rev3 Anderson was over. Richard P said we were his friends “for life”.
Three Days Later:
As I write this, I think to myself… does this sound too much like I am trying to cram religion down you (the reader’s) throat? Tell me if you feel that way, but I will say this I am recounting the actual events of the weekend, and what happened to me when I put God First during a race. it never turns out the way you think it will, but it ALWAYS turns out the way its PLANNED.
Try it. Spend a day and put others first, and yourself last. See what happens. To all MSM members. register for a local race anywhere and finish LAST. You will find that the one truly blessed at the end of the day is YOU.