Thanksgiving has always been the holiday that my family got together, even more so than Christmas. Ever since I went away to college, my parents have lived in Manchester, CT, and we have gathered there for a family reunion and meal on Thanksgiving Day. This was the first Thanksgiving that my dad was not with us, and it hit me harder than I thought it would. But, for the first time, we also had two special guests, Kelly Hammond (Daniel's girlfriend) and Theophilus Hines (Suzanne's boyfriend). It was great to be together as a family and make some memories. Here are photos of Suzanne and Theophilus:
and Daniel and Kelly:
One of the traditions on Thanksgiving Day in Manchester is the Road Race. It has been held on Thanksgiving for the past 74 years (the second oldest race in New England next to the Boston Marathon). It's not a long race (just 4.78 miles), but it's one of the most fun races I've ever run. I didn't run in it this year (although I have run it in the past), but it's always a great community and social event, bringing people closer together. Some of the top runners in the world compete, and there are so many who want to run, they have had to limit the number of runners to 15,000! In past years, my brother twice came in 11th in the race. Here are some of the leaders near the beginning of the race.
Many people run in costumes, and there is a contest to see who is wearing the best costume. This year there were some dazzling costumes. Of course, there were the many who ran in turkey costumes. One person ran as a Christmas tree.
Three young men jogged by dressed only in Speedos painted from head to toe in red, white, and blue and carrying an American flag.
Another family ran by dressed as Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.
What makes the race great, though, is not just the runners, but the spectators. Rain, sun, or snow, there are at least as many spectators as there are runners, and they line up along the entire route. This year there were around 20,000 spectators, including us. They are there cheering on the runners. I have never been in a race like that where so many people are cheering me on. The following two pictures give you a small glimpse of the thousands of cheering spectators, some on roofs of buildings:
It makes me think of the cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we run our race. Dad is now part of that crowd of spectators. He's run his race and finished the course. Now he's up there cheering us on, cheering me on, as I struggle up 'Heartbreak Hill' and stumble down the other side. He will be there as I approach the finish line waiting to greet me as I finish my race. Most important, Christ will be there to give me my prize.
The Thanksgiving Day Road Race has a special place in my heart. Some of my extended family members ran the race this year. A Moroccan man won it. I can't remember his name. It doesn't really matter. It was enough to be there again and take in the spectacle. Take a look at the runners coming in to the finish down Main Street, though.
Even though I was only a spectator this year, cheering others on, I'm still in the race of life, and I push on toward the goal for the prize. Bravo! Keep up the pace. Let's keep our eyes on the goal and on Jesus.
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