Run no. 52 – Running, Encouragement and Discouragement


Run No. 52     Distance: 4.53 miles   (7.3 km)          Time: 42’34””  (PB 38’ 28”)

An early Sunday morning run in the sunshine today. Very pleasant.

As I approached the half-way point an older gentleman dog walker stopped to clap me and smilingly shouted, “Go on! Go on!” as I ran past.

It was a boost and an encouragement. That someone who didn’t know me from Adam would make the effort to cheer me on my way.

Encouragement is such a simple yet powerful thing. It can be like pouring petrol on a fire.

A friend has recently completed the ‘Couch to 5 K” challenge (C25K). It is a training program designed to get people from a place of doing no exercise to being able to run 5 Km in 9 weeks.

My friend did some of the training runs with a beginners group, but some were done on your own. There is an app for your phone which tells you what to do, “We are now going to walk quickly for 2 minutes, try to keep time with the beat”, “We are now going to run for 2 minutes”  etc.

The nicely voiced lady also gives you encouragement, “Keep going, you’re doing great!”

The only downside was that my friend said he found himself replying to her, “Yes, I know, I know!” Which disconcerted some of the passers-by!

But again encouragement was a help and an aid, even when you know it is not completely genuine.

The flip side to our capacity to be aided by encouragement, is that we can be also forcefully impacted by discouragement.

It is sadly all too obvious that many people’s whole lives are blighted by parents who constantly told them they were useless and worthless. It is a form of curse that was placed upon them and, unfortunately, many never manage to break that curse, so powerful are the effects of those negative words.

Perhaps the most encouraging word, one that brings life, is that spoken by St James, one of the leaders of the Early Church. It was a word of promise, comfort, and encouragement and was born out of his experience of seeing it proved true again, and again and again, as people opened their minds, lives, and hearts to the message of Jesus.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8)