Run no. 69 – A six-thirty mile pace – really?



Run No. 69         Distance: 4.53 miles (7.3 km) Time: 43’41” (PB 38’ 38”)

A sunny but frosty and cold day today, so I was running with full hat and gloves.

As I was approaching the half-way point of my run a passing cyclist called out,

Your doing a six-thirty mile pace, brilliant!

My first reaction was “That’s not right!” It seemed inconceivable to me that only my second run in after a five month break I would be doing that kind of pace.

I am also well aware that cycle speedometers are notoriously inaccurate and depend on the wheel measurement that the user enters; they can also be affected by tyre pressure changes.

A six-thirty mile pace would have led to a split time of 14’ 42”. My actual split time was 20’ 21”! That’s quite a margin of error on his speedometer!

I started to muse about how this poor cyclist probably thought he was a lot faster than he really was. Which led to a spiritual reflection; that the standard against which we measure ourselves is vitally important.

Like me you have probably heard rather unpleasant people boast that they are all right as they have never murdered anyone.

Well if the measure of a successful human life is not to murder someone, then they are doing fine. But what if the measure with which our lives are evaluated by God is completely different? If so then they are living with a completely false sense of security.

We know from the Bible that God’s command for humankind is to

Be holy as I am holy.

What this means in concrete terms is spelled out in the 10 commandments –

have no other gods, have no idols, honour God’s name, keep one day a week as a day to focus on God, honour your parents, do not murder, do not steal, do not lie, do not commit adultery (elsewhere extrapolated to all sexual activity outside of marriage), do not envy what others have[1].

Jesus resumed all these positively into two commandments;

Love God with all your heart, soul and strength.

Love your neighbour as yourself[2].

Which reminds us that it is the love relationship that God wants – the commandments are just examples of ways in which our conduct can impair that relationship.

If that relationship is healthy then we will naturally shy away from things that we know displease God.

It is also a tall order, an impossible standard. Which is why the Christian religion is a religion founded upon grace – God’s unmerited favour.

We bring our broken, rather shabby lives before God and we say we are truly sorry for the times where we have missed the mark (the literal meaning of the word ‘sin’). We ask his forgiveness and we receive it – we are reset on the right path, the slate is wiped clean, we begin again.

But you can only access this grace, mercy and forgiveness if we know we need it; which is why the measure we use to assess our lives is vitally important.

Make sure your measure is true and reach for God’s grace when you fall short.



[1] Exodus 20 :1-17

[2] Matthew 22 :37-40