Saturday, December 6, 2014

Going the Extra Mile

Kayla Montgomery played competitive soccer in junior high.  The summer before high school, she noticed that due to numbness, she couldn’t feel her feet.  In October of 2010, after multiple tests, Kayla was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  At first she cried a lot and just wanted to be alone.  For 8 months Kayla had no feeling in her legs and had to give up soccer.  With medical help, the feeling in her feet and legs began to return as did Kayla’s desire to run and compete again.  Since soccer is a contact sport, another sport had to be chosen.

Kayla approached the track coach, Patrick Cromwell, at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, about training and running on the track team.  She wanted to run, make the most out of every day, and to be held accountable.  As Kayla trained, she progressed from an average runner to one of the best in her area.  She made Varsity and pushed herself further by training with the boys’ team.  Because of MS, when her body overheated she could no longer feel her feet or legs or know how fast she was running.  She had to listen to her coach and learn how to pace herself.

Not only did Coach Cromwell train, motivate, and push Kayla to do her best, he also made the commitment to meet Kayla at the finish line to catch her after she completed each race.  Since she could no longer feel her legs, Kayla would collapse in the coach’s arms and he would pick her up and carry her off the field.  People would come and place ice packets on her and give her water or Gatorade to drink to begin the cooling down process.  Her body temperature would eventually return to normal and the symptoms would subside.

Earlier in the year, Montgomery qualified for the North Carolina state meet for outdoor track in the 3,200-meter race.  Within the first 100 meters of the race, Kayla was running with the group and tripped and fell.  She got up, began running again, and eventually caught up with the crowd of runners.  Kayla crossed the finish line, collapsed into her coach’s arms, and was declared the winner with a time of 10 minutes 43 seconds, which was a good enough time to rank her 21st in the country.

There are so many things that encourage me about this story:
*After assessing the situation, Kayla didn’t let being diagnosed with MS define her life.
*It’s important to have dreams and goals and to be willing to work for them, even when there are hurdles along the way.
*When you fall down, you have the choice of staying down or getting back up to finish the race.
*Wise instruction is beneficial when it is assessed, taken to heart, and then applied.
*Going the extra mile helps bring results and blessings.
*I am blessed by people who invest in me so I can fulfill my dreams, goals, and purpose in life.  I also need to be willing to encourage, catch, hold, pick up, or bring water so someone else can have the opportunity to do the same.
When interviewed for a documentary Kayla stated, “I just hope to run as long as I can and to make the most out of it as long as I can.  When or if I am not able to run at some point down the road, then at least I can look back and know that when I could I gave it my all.”  May we all be able to have the same response to whatever Jesus is asking of us.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
I Corinthians 9:24

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

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