This I Believe

Thomas - Wilmington, Massachusetts
Entered on December 5, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: parenthood, work
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The Extra Mile

I believe in running the extra distance. From the time I was in first grade, when I ran my first mile with my dad, I would forever be guided throughout life by the direction of his footsteps left behind in the snow. Just before the run, I heard my mom say, “You’re already following in your dad’s footsteps.” I could not foresee how significant an impact the values of running would have on my future, including dedication, devotion, and perseverance. As I ran around my block with my dad, I watched his feet methodically lift off the ground and hit the pavement, and I saw his lasting tracks left in the snow. I had taken my mom’s advice literally, trying to match the pace of my dad by running in his footsteps. Little did I know that the following of my dad’s footsteps would eternally guide my actions and mold my personality on a platform of dedication and perseverance.

When I encounter problems, I think of them not as inescapable, but rather just hurdles springing up in my path. With great devotion to surpass these hurdles and to not let them knock me down, I know any problem can be conquered. When I was nine years old, I broke my leg in a “freak” accident in the beginning of the summer. I had run into a dog and was thrown into the air, only to land back down with a painful crack. A week later, my mom ran into my old football coach. He had experienced a similar fracture and had told her that I might be permanently affected by my injury, and might not be able to run like I used to. My mom told me this not to scare me, but as powerful motivation, knowing that I would work my hardest to prove him wrong. By the time school started, I was already up and running slowly again. We were expected to run the mile within the first month of school, and despite having rods in my leg and a minor limp, I completed the mile with the second fastest time in the class. I knew that broken bones certainly don’t last forever, but rather the perpetual value of dedication gained would guide me throughout life.

Through running, I have learned the true meaning of dedication and persistence. Each and every assignment I complete and test I take are all minor hurdles in the way of my main path to success. I believe each hour I put into doing homework or studying for a test is comparable to putting in the extra mile when running. I tell myself that in the long run, my hard work will pay off and if it doesn’t then I consider that just a bad race.

Now that I am in high school, I continue to run on the cross-country team and track teams. Every mile conquered gives me strength for the future and dedication to lead me through life. I believe in going the distance, as each step taken is one closer to a mile, and within each mile lays strength, perseverance, and devotion.