This was the race of Kene’s life. He had practiced long and hard, and though he didn’t look like a natural-born sportsman, his mentor told him he had a fighting chance. The race was a long-distance, individual track event, and he was there to win. As the athletes stepped on to the track, Kene gazed at the other competitors. They were five in number, including him.
Number one looked strong and ready to go, pacing up and down, his nostrils flaring. Number two was wearing a neon yellow outfit with lemon-green stripes. The colors made Kene’s head spin, was the man also advertising sportswear? Number three was warming up on the ground, breathing in through his nose and out through the mouth, Kene thought to do that as well. He noticed the fourth runner, a tall and lithe looking fellow, who was drinking water and smiling at some girls on the sidelines. The whistle blew.
“Kene, Kene, listen.”
Kene turned to his mentor, who was on the sidelines and maintained eye contact.
“Remember the 5 tricks of the track and where your focus must be. I will be running with you all the way, just listen to me and only me.”
Kene nodded and turned back to the track. One of the runners by his side chuckled.
“Guy, your mentor, will run the whole way with you? Why do you need that, do you have health issues? You look like you do, though, all skin and bones.”
Kene turned to see who was asking him questions, the other runners were laughing at him. Number one didn’t laugh, he kept looking at Kene with narrowed eyes, waiting for his response.
“Without my mentor, I won’t make it. My mentor helps me with the boost I need when I can’t go on, and to get me to the finish line.” Kene wasn’t sure who had asked the questions, but he answered, looking at number one.
They all knelt down to get ready, and when the umpire fired the gun, they took off. Kene’s mentor ran by his side, encouraging him.
“Swing your arms faster, Kene, keep going.”
“Keep going, honey, don’t stop.” A girl called out to number four from the stands, and as he turned to smile at her, he tripped on his other leg and fell. He had to start the race from the beginning.
Kene slowed down.
“What do you say?” His mentor shouted.
“I will make it by God’s grace,” Kene shouted.
“I will make it, by God’s grace,” Kene shouted again.
Number two slowed down, laughing. He turned to look at Ekene, “I will make it by God’s grace.” He mimicked. Kene realized that he was the one who had asked the questions at the beginning.
Kene took off.
“Don’t think about anything else but the prize that awaits at the finish line. Do not let your mind be clouded by doubts, fears, or shame, just focus on the finish line.” The mentor shouted as he ran with him.
Number two sped past him, and the fans cheered. His colorful outfit setting him apart, making the media and news teams focus on him alone. He was enjoying the attention and stopped to dance a jig for the crowd. They went berserk, calling his name and cheering him on. He smiled and blew them kisses. Number three was sprinting hard and focusing on number two’s foolery when he ran into the wrong lane by mistake, and they both went down. They were asked to start from the beginning.
Kene couldn’t believe it, not number three.
“Focus, Kene. Your eyes on the prize.”
Kene nodded and sprinted away. Number one had also witnessed everything and ran with all his might, the race was tight. He whizzed past Kene and kept going, intent on winning. Kene looked at him as he sped past, the buff body, the face set in an I-must-win stance, and looked at his mentor.
“Run your race and make it to the finish line. What if he finishes first, so? Just do your best and get there as well.” The mentor said, running close to Kene.
Kene nodded and focused on his lane, number three’s mistake would not repeat itself.
He was on the lane closest to the center. His mentor had helped get him that position, but with number one’s speed…
“Kene, focus, you are losing speed.”
Kene took off again.
“Keep your hands loose and breathe through your nose. Keep going.”
Kene kept running, and turning the corner, he saw the white tape. Number one was sprinting towards it, and Kene didn’t know how he could win against the athlete’s speed and strength.
“Keep going, son. It’s not by might, nor by power.”
Kene nodded, smiling, and took off, sprinting toward the finish line. He noticed something weird happening to number one but doubted. Number one was slowing down, but that couldn’t be, who would start slowing down on the last lap. When he ran past the fellow, Kene’s mouth dropped open. Number one was slowing down and clutching his midsection, pain etched on his face like a second cloth.
“Keep going, Kene. You are almost there.”
Kene sprinted to the finish line and cut the tape, he had won. He turned to see number one being carried from the track on a stretcher still holding his middle. Kene’s mentor ran to him and enfolded him in a bear hug.
“Congratulations, son, you made it.”
“How, what happened to number one?”
The mentor looked at the retreating stretcher. “Like most men, he believed that one can run the race of life alone. Without God, you don’t stand a chance. Well done, son!”
Till next time, be transformed!!