my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Running a race is like a journey through life because…

TC running the race

A bit of background: I’m a teacher and so every so often I have the opportunity to do assemblies to the whole school. At the most recent one, I based my assembly on using running as an analogy for what life is like. I thought I’d share it with you too!

I based the inspiration for this assembly on a quote from Hebrews 12:1 in the Bible, ‘Running the race marked out for us.’

I showed images first of all of some famous brilliant runners (Mo Farah – Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m Gold Medal winner, Paula Radcliffe – current female marathon world record holder, Patrick Makau – current marathon world record holder), finishing off with an image of our school cross country running team.

I asked the school for some reasons why they thought people ran.

Ideas included ‘because they’re good at it,’ ‘because they enjoy it,’ ‘because it keeps them fit.’

Some boys from the cross country team then shared their thoughts, which included ‘being part of a team,’ ‘I like running with other people,’ and ‘I’m good at it, so I enjoy doing it.’

I spoke to the children about what else runners need in order to do their best in a race.

Ideas we discussed included the right gear (I’d love to be able to afford a huge wardrobe of running shoes, tops, shorts, accessories, tracksuits, etc, but that’s going to have to wait for the time being!!), the right preparation (organisation), the right mentality, and having encouragement from crowds along the course, supporting you both in the good and the bad times.

Here’s some thoughts I shared with the school, all beginning with the same phrase. I wonder what you’d fill in to complete the title sentence? I’d love you to share them with me!

Running a race is like a journey through life because…both of them have a start and an end.

Running a race is like a journey through life because…you reap the rewards of practise by improving (either your time, your distance, or more importantly, your life and your relationships with others).

Running a race is like a journey through life because…in both you meet interesting people along the way.

Running a race is like a journey through life because…you get to explore a range of different paths and directions.

Running a race is like a journey through life because…both have their high and their low points you need to embrace and endure.

Running a race is like a journey through life because…in both you can experience a range of emotions, such as: excitement, nervousness, happiness, doubt, vulnerability, satisfaction, hope and enjoyment.

I then went on to say: In the Bible one of the New Testament writers compare life to being like running a race. The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Christians to encourage them to keep going in life and in their faith. It says that life is like running a race that is marked out for them by God – see Hebrews 12.1.

The starting line is the place where we begin and the finishing tape is the end of our lives – gold medal time! The race may include difficult times – like steep hills or rough roads for runners – but we can help one another by cheering each other on, encouraging others to keep going, being happy when things are going well. We need a route to follow, too, and for Christians this is the Bible and its teachings.

Let’s think about what it’s like to run.

Some of us enjoy it more than others, but it is an important way to keep us healthy and strong.  It doesn’t matter how fast or slow we are – but can we keep going to the end and will we win that gold medal?  We can help one another too, giving support when we are tempted to give up.  Think about how our lives are a bit like running a race – and how difficult we find things at times.

Like in a race, we need to pace ourselves and keep going. How can we support each other?

I ended this assembly with the following prayer:


Dear God,

Thank you that you know and understand us.

You are always there to help us, in the easy and the difficult times.

You want us to keep going in that journey of life.

Help us to support each other too.


Now it’s over to you!

If you have a few seconds, I’d love to hear your ending to this sentence opening:

Running a race is like a journey through life because…


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