One of the most powerful moments is when the runners enter the arena, where thousands are waiting to cheer them to the finish. Of course they have been encouraged all along the way, but these witnesses have been waiting at the finish; with them is the feeling of anticipation.
It is always exciting to watch the winners, but the stragglers are inspiring to watch, too, because of their perseverance. This year, one such runner had dropped out of the race during the last Olympics in Athens. Now here she was, struggling again, with the world watching. It looked like she was going to quit.
But she didn't quit. Sometimes she slowed to a walk. Her face and certain muscles were contorted. But she kept going. Sometimes I didn't want to keep watching, from the tension of it all, and welcomed the ad breaks.
When the runner finally entered the arena, the victors had long arrived and were settling into their life as victors, but it wasn't too late to finish. There were still people waiting to welcome her.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. -Hebrews 12:1