My favorite track and field events are the 100m sprint and the 4X100m sprint relay. I used to enjoy watching Usain Bolt during his career because he made the tracks very entertaining. And of course the greats before him like Carl Lewis and along side him like Justin Gaitlin and Yohan Blake were always lovely to watch. Flo-Jo (Florence Griffith-Joyner of blessed memory) was a fave as well as Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce. And in more recent times, Shericka Jackson and Sha’Carri Richardson are favourites of mine. I cannot end this list without mentioning Tobi Amusan (from my country Nigeria) who currently holds the World Record for Women’s 100m hurdles. She is always a delight to watch.

Track and field events are generally interesting to watch (the sprints in particular) and I especially love it when the Jamaicans are up against the Americans. It is always high tension.

A relay race is a team job so it is absolutely necessary that all members of the team put in their very best. If the anchor finishes in the lead, the whole team has finished in the lead and each member gets an individual medal. In relays, an instrument called a baton is passed from the first runner to the second leg until it ends with the anchor who takes it home. There are two ways of doing the baton exchange known as the visual technique and the non-visual technique. As the names imply one is seen and the other is not seen but felt.

The non-visual technique is preferred for short races like the 4 x 100m or 4 x 200m relays because it helps to maintain the speed and to save time. With this technique there is little or no backward glance while the baton exchange takes place. The outgoing runner who receives the baton has the finish line and a medal on their mind.

The anchor (the last leg) in relays and the individuals in sprint races are all focused on that one thing :the finish line. Tbat is the ultimate goal of each of these athletes:

One of the worst things a sprinter could do is to look back during the race to see what others are doing. This is one reason why the non visual technique is used for sprint relays. When they look back it creates an element of doubt in their ability and performance, which could be difficult to shake off through out the race. It could ultimately result in a setback.

What this backward glance does is to send a negative signal to their minds which invariably shifts the mindset of the athlete.

Whatever we are doing in life we must be mindful not to keep looking over our shoulders at what others are doing. There is a place for healthy competition. But honestly it appears that the word healthy is slowly being taken out of that expression. Do or die competition seems to be the norm these days.

A different script is written out for everyone therfore we cannot expect to have the same triumphs and trials as our spouses, our siblings, friends or colleagues at work. What we must be doing is looking ahead at where we are going, not backwards and definitely not at others. Our races are all very different. Go for your own win and win well.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV

According to the above scripture, there is a race marked out for everyone. Let us all be facing our own races.

When Peter kept pestering Jesus about what would happen to John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) Jesus replied him thus: “Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.’ John 21:22 NLT

Let everyone run their own race. We cannot keep peering over our shoulders. We might trip and stumble out of the race completely.

It will not go well if we keep doing that. Nor will it end well if we keep comparing everything. Their house, their neighbourhood, their children’s school, their sons wedding reception, their daughters wedding dress. What is that to us? Let us be careful and let us be content. People have paid dues and people are still paying their dues.

Social media does not help. Nobody puts up their bad hair days or their puffy eyes, their dry cruse of oil or their empty barrel of meal. People hardly ever tell you what they are really going through which is alright because they do not want to go viral, start trending or become the breaking news of the moment.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13 NLT

I personally am not there yet like Apostle Paul said above, but I am focused and quietly running my own race. And by the grace of God, I will get there.