Confession: I am a big sucker for sports movies.
Rudy. Remember the Titans. Glory Road. Miracle. Hoosiers. Rocky. Cool Runnings. It hardly matters the sport. If it’s an uplifting movie about underdogs overcoming all odds and obstacles, chances are I’ll love it.
The thing about sports movies is that they are nearly always about a person or team of people doing the hard thing, overcoming the impossible, and making deeply uncomfortable choices in the name of a greater end goal. We watch and we laugh and we cry and we cheer in the name of victory. Then the movie ends and many of us turn off the television and live as if none of these noteworthy principles are worth applying to our everyday living. I write this as one 100% guilty most of the time.
It has been nearly a year since I recorded my pre-marathon thoughts in the newsletter entitled Do Something Uncomfortable. What I never wrote was the end of that story.
One thing I do know is that any success, big or small, does not come without the people around us, cheering and supporting for no gain of their own.
On October 18, 2015, seven months after giving birth to my third child, I ran the Atlantic City Marathon. After telling anyone who asked that I would probably finish in 4 hours 30 minutes, my husband finally got me to admit the night before the race that my lofty dream goal was to break 4 hours. In my previous marathon, which had been 4 years prior, I finished in 4:38. Breaking 4 hours would be a big leap.
On October 18, 2015, seven months after giving birth to my third child, I ran the Atlantic City Marathon in 3 hours, 57 minutes, and 19 seconds.
I cried at the finish line of the marathon I never wanted to run, the marathon I ran in the name of freedom.
But that is not the whole story. I am no Olympian, nor will my small story ever be worthy of a sports movie. One thing I do know is that any success, big or small, does not come without the people around us, cheering and supporting for no gain of their own.
There were the countless volunteers along the course handing out much needed hydration for no benefit of their own, many of whom responded to my thanks with a surprising and encouraging, “Thank you for running!”
There was the 4 hour pacer, who sent so much of encouragement my way when I finally caught and passed him while I was hurting plenty at mile 24, encouraging each and every painful step to go a little faster towards my lofty dream.
And then there was my husband, who watched our children (including our nursing baby) every Sunday morning while I ran my 4 hour plus long runs, and cheered me on every step of the journey.
To name them all would take pages. The volunteer who gave me my bib number. The police officers who closed off the streets. The people who set up the finish line. The woman who organized the race from beginning to end. The kind man who gave me the most satisfying orange I’ve ever had at the finish. My Love True family who prayed and cheered so hard from a distance. My mom who watched my two littlest ones on race day. My breaking the 4 hour marathon in pursuit of freedom would have never happened without all these people and more.
What are you doing to inspire victory in the journey to end sex trafficking?
My question to you today is this: what are you doing to inspire victory around you?
In the context of being race director for the Trek Against Trafficking and manager of Team Love True, I ask more specifically, what are you doing to inspire victory in the journey to end sex trafficking?
While I love sports movies, gold medals and championship wins hardly ever change the world. What changes the world is everyday people making the decision to reject the pursuit of comfort and instead decide to choose the hard thing, to overcome the impossible, and to make deeply uncomfortable choices in the name of the greater good. We applaud the man who spends painful hours on the track or in the pool or on the football in lifelong pursuit of a hard earned, but momentary, victory. What I challenge you to today is to support and applaud - and perhaps even be - the man or woman who spends a lifetime being a champion of the voiceless and defender of the weak; to applaud and to be those who allow their very lifestyles to be radically changed for the sake of freedom for others.
On October 1, 2016, we are having our 4th annual Trek Against Trafficking race. It’s a race with a 5k and 10k distance run, a 1 mile walk, and a 200 yard dash for kids 2-10. Would you come and spend your morning pursuing the end of sex trafficking? What may be a mere race for you is significant impact for us. This race is annually our largest fundraiser and awareness event, from which we have seen many rise up and take their own stand against trafficking.
By participating, you may be someone who, like my 4 hour pacer, inspires and supports us at Love True to victory. Or you may be the one who wins a battle yourself as we support and applaud you. No matter what the impact, it is each and every individual who comes out on race day that makes this race a success and even helps fuel our entire success at Love True.
No matter what the impact, it is each and every individual who comes out on race day that makes this race a success and even helps fuel our entire success at Love True.
Yes, I am a big sucker for sports movies. But something that inspires and lifts my soul even more is standing at the finish line of the Trek Against Trafficking and watching and cheering for person after person finishing their race in pursuit of freedom.
This year, I hope one of them is you.
Chloe serves as the Trek Against Trafficking race director and the manager of Team Love True. Chloe and her husband Josiah have three (soon to be four!) boys and live in Essex County. When not chasing three little boys around or serving at her church or with Love True, she enjoys running long distances, going out with her husband, and organizing everything & anything!