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Monday, April 10, 2017

Level C

I saw a something last week that sparked my imagination. On Friday afternoon as I left work, the freeway was totally backed up (what a surprise), so I decided to take side streets through Laguna Niguel. As I traveled down Alicia Parkway I noticed small groups of runners. One group included two girls who were wearing frilly purple skirts over their running shorts, and in fact, a lot of the runners were wearing strange costumes.

It was decent weather when I got home, so my wife and I decided to go for a bike ride. As we neared the public beach parking lot, we noticed a large section coned off that was jammed with people, including a dozen white “Ragnar Vans” decorated on the outside with words of encouragement. One Ragnar Van even had a frilly purple skirt attached to its rear bumper. This was apparently a checkpoint because we could see runners pouring in and tons of people stationed there to cheer them on. Sure enough, as we took in the sites, I noticed the frilly purple skirt group cruising in covered in sweat but also covered with huge smiles.

When we got home we did some research and found out this was a “Ragnar Relay Race”. Ragnar events are long distance, team, overnight running relays that take place in some of the most beautiful places in the world. According to their website, teams come together to conquer a course over a 24-hour non-stop period where they push their limits, on little amounts of sleep, with friends, and a community of runners by their side. Most teams are raising money for their own particular charity of choice so that provides the extra motivation needed to push through the pain. This particular race was nearly 200 miles long, stretching from Huntington Beach to San Diego, which is why it passed through our little piece of paradise.

Seeing all those people putting themselves through torture for the good of others got me thinking.
  • When we are children everything we need is given to us free of charge. If we need food, shelter or clothing, Mom and Dad pretty much take care of it. Let’s call that Level A.
  • Then when we become adults we realize that we, ourselves, have to work hard for everything we want and need because nobody is going to do it for us. Let’s call that Level B.
  • But some people take their lives to Level C. (Maybe C stands for Charity.) Level C is where a person is willing to struggle and sacrifice for the good of others. Not everyone can get to Level C or even wants to get there because it’s so painful and draining. But it’s a great concept that’s based on sacrifice, service and sharing. In fact, I think it’s probably a concept that goes back over thousands of years. Hey, maybe C stands for Christ!
The "Sparkles" Team in the Ragnar Relay So Cal Event 4-7-17

Down in their hearts, wise men know this truth: 
the only way to help yourself is to help others.
~ Elbert Hubbard

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