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The Word on the Week

Golden Walk

And so it turned out to be for Cork-man Rob Heffernan who won the 50km walk at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow this week and brought home the Gold!

For those of us who still think in old money that’s 31 miles; 5 miles longer than the marathon. This achievement came out of the despair of Olympic failure last year where Rob came in fourth. Afterwards he felt like giving up but his two kids persuaded him to continue with the training, even if it meant that they would see little of him. His wife Marion, also an athlete and his coach, was behind him all the way.

At age 35 Rob was challenged by the 22 year old Russian Ryzhov. His experience helped him fend off the competition and the TV clip of him coming up to the finishing line seemed to show him walking on air. That was the one thing he was not doing as this most demanding of sports require one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times. This calls for great discipline if you are to complete the 31 miles in a little over 3.5 hours.

For a walker, age is not a handicap and Rob could well have the next Olympics in his sights. We wish him and his family well.

The Bible often uses walking as a metaphor for our manner of life.

The Apostle John quotes Jesus in his Gospel as the one who will help us to see where we are going, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Chapter 8 verse 12). Later when St John wrote his first letter he returned to this theme, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (Chapter 1 verses 5-7).

Here St John points up the hypocrite in us namely claiming to be Christian when our walk takes us into darkness. There is a choice on offer; to come into the light of God’s truth. The first step is to come to Jesus for cleansing as often and as quickly as possible.

Physically we may not be able to keep up with Rob but with St John’s training we will get the Gold in the end.