Winning by a Forehead

It was a good race. The emotions of it were the stuff of legends.

It was the last race of the meet…the 4×4. The third runner of the relay had managed to build a sizable gap between him and second place. Victory seemed certain- but a seasoned runner knows anything could happen in the last leg.

The baton was passed to the final runner of our team. He shot out, pumping arms and legs as fast as he could go. The second place team made their pass. And we watched as the gap got smaller and smaller.

We held our breath. Willing that the gap stay. But we knew it would be close.

Neck to neck is what they say in horse races. This was forehead to forehead. When the runners passed us by in the final stretch I caught a glimpse of his expression, “I refuse to lose,” was written across his face, in every muscle fiber.

And he won, but by literally a forehead.

Photo by Snapwire on

It made me think, so many times in history, there are tipping points, but they aren’t won by a huge gap, they are won by a hair. Sometimes so small you don’t even realize it was a win.

Many times the difference between winning and loosing is determined by sheer determination- like the kind written on our winning runner’s face. “I will not lose.”

And that can be the most uncomfortable place to be. Where winning is not certain, and you have to let go of all your preconceived notions of what is possible, and just pour everything out to match that mental commitment of winning.

He won. And I know of so many cases when we don’t win. But maybe in the process step up for an eventual win – because “we refuse to lose.”

So many things to learn about life and history from a race.

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