The Perfect Mile

Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Fairest Lord Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

1 Corinthians 9:24 – Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (NIV)

A universe opens to me when I sit down with a good book. I especially like reading something about which I know little or nothing. A recent example was a book called The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. I learned that during the early 1950s, two of the world's top middle-distance runners, Roger Bannister of Great Britain and John Landy of Australia, were chasing the same elusive goal: breaking the four-minute mile. As the world watched and waited, both runners were tantalizingly close to this feat which had once been deemed impossible for a human to achieve.

It was the British medical student, Roger Bannister, who finally achieved this remarkable feat on May 6, 1954, running the race in 3:59.4 minutes. Seven weeks later, Landy broke that record, running it in 3:57.9 minutes.

As a medical student, Bannister's world revolved around nothing other than studies and running. He spent years in relentless training that was so gruelling that he often considered giving up. But competitive racing is a combination of both individual effort and teamwork. He relied on his coach for technical assistance and support, and on other runners, who served as invaluable pacesetters to gauge when he needed to make the final kick into the home stretch. During Bannister's record-setting race, it was two of his own teammates who sacrificed their own race to set the pace that would allow him to squeeze out his final needed seconds and strides. These pacesetters put their own egos and aspirations aside as they helped Bannister reach his highest potential.

There are parallels and lessons galore to be drawn between the world of the runner and our life of faith. The Christian life may at times seem to be a long, gruelling race, coming with pain and sacrifice. Yet the final prize for having lived a life pleasing to God is worth it all.

Sometimes, we are the pacesetters as we help and encourage our fellow believers along the way. Other times, we are the ones in need of that bit of assistance. We have pastors and teachers who serve as coaches as they teach and train us in godly ways. We, in turn, may be the ones who train our own children and others in the faith. Whatever our role, may we be able to say with Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, our life's race is often gruelling and monotonous, but we desire to finish the course well. Give us strength and courage to be faithful to the end. Amen.

Forward this devotional     Share this devotional on Facebook     Like PresbyCan on Facebook

About the author:

Gail Lundquist <>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Send your feedback to the author

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Gail.

    Gail, always great lessons in your writings!
    Thank you.

    Thank you for reminding us of those two great runners and how we need to run our race in being an example and witness.

    This is an interesting comparison, Gail, that we can be the pacesetters to encourage others, or we may need them to encourage us. Thanks!

    Thank you, Gail, for a very mindful and encouraging writing today. We are so fortunate to have our Lord as our ever present coach guiding us along and watching over us each and every day. Blessings and enjoy a beautiful day.

    Hi Gail,
    I really enjoyed learning a little more of what went into someone break the record of running the mile in less than 4 minutes. You did an amazing job of using this as a lead into our faith journey. It is always good to get a different perspective and learn something I didn’t know before. I cannot understand the drive that athletes have to break these records. It is good that the world is made up of many different talented people and we can respect everyone.
    You are a great example of a sharing and faithful woman; we can celebrate you on International Woman’s Day today. Blessings.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. Blessings.

Previous Post
Next Post

PresbyCan is a community of faithful, Holy Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, God-honouring Christians.