Reflections on Rio: You Have to Run Your Own Race

The Olympics is an event where every 4 years we get to see men & women do incredible things. Things that most of us can’t. Most of us will never run a marathon in under three hours or run 100 m in under 10 seconds. Most of us will never compete let alone medal at this level of competition.

It was such a thrill to watch our friend Krista Duchene compete in the women’s marathon this past Sunday at the Rio Olympics. We are so proud of her. Krista is inspirational. Not only is she a world-class athlete but she’s a world-class human being. 

It was through tears that we saw Krista cross the finish line.


If you have participated in sports at any level, you probably have a greater appreciation for what these athletes are capable of. You might play basketball, swim, run or jump on a trampoline; but doing these things ourselves only reinforces how good they are.

We have a pool at home but I can’t do a few lengths without getting winded. I have no idea how Ryan Cochrane can do 30 laps of a 50m pool against the best in the world. I’ve run a 30km race in the past, a race that Krista is a past champion of; and she does it in less than half the time!

You Have to Run Your Own Race

One question I’ve heard over and over during the interviews of athletes is “How did you prepare for your event?” And without fail every athlete is able to describe their approach or game plan. They all had a plan and a strategy. Some went out strong hoping to hold off the competition while others would start slow and with the goal of overcoming the field down the stretch. 

If there was one lesson (actually there are many) we can learn from these Olympic games is that each of us has to run our own race.

  • You have to have your own dream. What do you want to accomplish? What’s your goal?
  • You have to have your own plan. What routines, habits and steps do you have to take in order to reach your goal?
  • You have to have your own focus. It would be easy for any athlete to take his eyes of himself and worry about the guy next to him, but that will only serve to slow him down. There are so many distractions at the games…the crowds, the cameras, crazy fans who want to run you off the course.
  • You have to believe in your own abilities. What are your strengths? What are you good at? What do you make look easy that others find hard or impossible?
  • You have to embrace your own journey. There are over 11,000 Olympic athletes in Rio and there are 306 sets of medals to be won. That means less than 10% of all the athletes will actually take home some hardware. So why compete you ask? After finishing a disappointing 6th in the 1500m swim, Ryan Cochrane said, “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting better.” 

“Bearing a scar on her left thigh from surgery to fix a broken leg, DuChene, the University of Guelph graduate and mother of three, said the race was a highlight of a career she has no plans to end any time soon.

“I wanted to come and not just be that ‘old mom with three kids who made it to the Olympics,’ but to have a great race,” she said. “It just gives a lot of encouragement to moms out there who have kids and who work.” Krista Duchene

What about you? What’s your dream? Do you even have a dream?

I’m putting the final touches on my first book. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I’m hoping to launch it next month. But here’s the thing…I’ll never be Donald Miller, Tim Keller or Malcolm Gladwell or (insert your favorite author here) because I’m not them. As much as I love their writing, I can’t be them. If I try to be them, I stop being me. Only I can be me. Only you can be you.

“I can’t be them. If I try to be them, I stop being me. Only I can be me. Only you can be you.”

Only you can be you. You can’t be someone else and no one else can be you.

So stop looking at what others are doing to copy them; instead learn from them.

What do you dream to do?

What would change if you put plan together for your dream? What would change if you gave it the focus it deserves. What if you embraced how God has made you and wired you?

Krista, along with every other athlete went into the Olympics with a dream and a plan. She prepared and competed the only way she could. Krista ran her race. She may have hoped to finish higher than 35th, I don’t know. But she fulfilled a dream of competing at the highest level in her sport. She’s an Olympian and she’s awesome…her way.

Run your own race.


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