Did you wonder from that email title if I’d run the London Marathon last month?

Sorry to disappoint, but Amy and I did go to London for the day to support her best friend, Kim, who was running.

It was incredible, emotional, and hard work if you decided to be fully engaged in the day.

Hard work? I hear your cry. You didn’t even run Matt. How is that hard work?

And you’re right. Our spectating doesn’t hold a candle to the inspiring efforts of the 49,272 people who were actually in the race.

We were part of the 750,000 spectators! But even the spectators have a choice to make. You can just watch. Observe. Stand at the sidelines in silent admiration (that’s fair enough!).

But what these runners really needed is encouragement. It didn’t matter that you didn’t know them. Most runners had their names emblazoned on their top and so for hours and hours, Amy and myself found ourselves cheering on complete strangers until we almost had no voice!

“Come on Mike, you can do it!”
Mike smiles back, whispering ‘Thank you”.

“Incredible job, Josey, keep going.”
Josey gives us a friendly wave.

“You’re doing so well Noel. Amazing!”
…as Noel hobbles past, unable to run because of the pain.

It was tempting to stop cheering at times. Partly, because sometimes the people around us were quiet and we felt self-conscientiously over-enthusiastic. But also, because it was tiring to encourage for hours (again, nothing like running the marathon itself).

But I’m reminded of the words of the writer in Hebrews 3:13 when they command us to “…encourage one another daily.”

On London Marathon Day, when Amy and I joined the biggest encouragement party in the country, I was reminded afresh of the power of a simple “well done” – “keep going” – “you can do this” to put strength and hope into the soul.

Let’s never grow weary of the daily practice of cheering others on, through both their mountaintop and valley moments. Who can you start with today?