Last Place for a Reason
This past summer at the Division III Ohio state championships, one runner ran the best race of her life.
And I am not even referring to the race she won.
Meghan Vogel knows running. She grew up around track and cross country her entire life. And she is good at it. She is only the second athlete in Ohio history to qualify for the state meet in three different events.
In the meet she put on the best performance of her life in the 1600 meters. She bested another runner that she had never beat before and ran a personal best time of 4:58.31, becoming the state champion.
The girl can run.
One of her other events, the 3200 meters, was scheduled to start 30 minutes after her championship run. Megan did not have time to recover from her effort in the previous race. She struggled from the start.
But in this race, her performance would outshadow anything else she has ever done on the track.
Her mom and coach, Ann Vogel, noticed her fatigue early. “By the third lap, she had that look on her face that said, ‘Well, I just don’t have it for this one, so I’m just going to shut it down and finish.'”
Instead of finding herself in the lead, Megan was in last place. Struggling. But she was in the perfect position to see everything else that was happening in the race.
She noticed another runner, Arden McMath, in the main pack begin to falter. By the time Meghan caught up with Arden, she had fallen three times. She was cramping so bad, that Meghan knew that Arden would not be able to finish the race.
So Meghan did what made sense to her. She stopped. She helped. Then she carried Arden across the finish line.
When asked “why?” this is what Meghan had to say. “If you work to get to the state meet, you deserve to finish no matter who you are. I was going to make that happen for her no matter what.”
Meghan, an accomplished runner, found herself in unusual situation. Last place. But instead of defeat, she saw an opportunity. Later she is reported to have told her mother that:
I think God put me in last place for a reason.
Here is the video.
(If you are having trouble viewing the video, click here.)
Meghan technically finished next to last in the race. But she walked away with something better than a trophy or bragging rights.
She lived a better story.
Has God ever put you in last place? Did you see defeat or an opportunity?
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