On September 21st, nine year old Kade Lovell was entered into the St. Frances Franny Flyer 5k race in Sartell, Minnesota. Kade loves to run and had competed in other races, including cross country since the age of six. This particular 5k was part of his training for the upcoming Junior Olympics in Wisconsin.
Things didn’t go as planned for Kade, however. He started the race well, and had the lead as he approached the turnaround point. He saw the sign, but a spectator urged him to keep going. He did and inadvertently the 10k race which shared the same route. He later admitted “I was a little confused.”
Kade’s mother Heather was waiting on the sidelines near the finish line. When Kade failed to appear at his anticipated time, she wasn’t worried. Everyone has an off day and perhaps he just wasn’t running his best this time. But as the minutes ticked by, she grew frantic. When driving the race route failed to turn up any signs of Kade, she enlisted help to search for her son.
Sometimes, the small tasks turn into big ones. What we thought was a short, relatively easy run turns out to be much longer than anticipated. Maybe we took a wrong turn. Maybe we got some bad advice along the way. Maybe we just weren’t paying attention and forgot to stop running. And then suddenly we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory.
I don’t know about you, but my first instinct is usually to stop. I get a little confused because things are a little harder than I thought they would be. The road seems longer than I anticipated. I’m all alone and thinking “what went wrong?” Everything in my brain is screaming “This isn’t right. Bail out now before you go too far.”
But what if we didn’t stop at the first sign of adversity? What if we simply accepted the larger challenge that’s been presented to us and just kept going? Would we surprise ourselves? Could we accomplish something even bigger than what we’d set our sights on initially?
Kade’s uncle, a participant in the 10k event, heard from a spectator that a young boy was running the same race, and doing “really well.” It was Kade, running like the wind – spurred on by a combination of panic and fear that his mother would be angry with him for the mistake. As it turns out, Kade ran so well he won the 10k race. He finished with a time of 48 minutes, more than a minute faster than the closest competition.