In his book, “The 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History”, Bud Greenspan shared the following true story; On an October evening in 1968, a group of die-hard spectators remained in the Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium to see the last finishers of the Olympic Marathon.
More than an hour before, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia had won the race to the exuberant cheers of onlookers. But as the crowd watched and waited for the last participants, it was getting cool and dark. It looked as if the last runners were finished, so the remaining spectators were breaking up and leaving when they heard the sounds of sirens and police whistles coming from the marathon gate into the stadium.
And as everyone watched, one last runner made his way into the track for the last lap of the forty kilometre race. It was John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania. As he ran the 400-metre circuit, people could see that his leg was bandaged and bleeding. He had fallen and injured it during the race, but it hadn’t let it stop him. The people in the stadium rose and applauded until he reached the finish line.
As he hobbled away, he was asked why he had not quit, injured as he was and having no chance of winning a medal. He answered, “My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me to finish the race.”
Folks Akhwari , in spite of the pains he was going through; the disappointment of tripping and falling, and having to injure himself in the process, kept his eye on the big picture of why he was there. He understood that “Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered, and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” In our lives, as we go about pursuing our goals and dreams, our major goal should be to finish the race. We must resolve that come what may, we won’t stop until we make our dreams come true.