Finishing the race out of love – USA3 October 2013
I have been involved in endurance racing for many years. For any of you who have done endurance racing, it is gruelling and requires will and determination to finish.
As with any sport you see all kinds of athletes with every motivation: personal goals and selfless goals to improve the lives of others. My first experience with triathlons taught me a valuable lesson about being motivated by love for others.
My younger brother, Tommy, has Down syndrome and loved to compete on the swim team when he was in high school. He was coached by a good friend of mine named Jimmie.
Jimmie was training for the Louisville Ironman, a long-distance triathlon, and, inspired by his relationship with Tommy, decided he wanted to race in honour of my brother. To be concrete in action, he initiated a fundraiser called “Tri for Tommy” and raised several thousand dollars for a local Down syndrome support organization.
Not only did Jimmie battle a painful injury to his knee, but he completed the agonizing 15 hour race and crossed the finish line hand in hand with Tommy. The joy on both Jimmie’s and Tommy’s faces was incredible to witness.
This act of love for my brother inspired me to follow in Jimmie’s footsteps to race out of love for my brother. Two years later, I also completed the Louisville Ironman, and we expanded the “Tri for Tommy” fundraiser together. It was a life-changing experience for me, getting to cross the finish line with my brother.
I learned what human beings are able to accomplish when we put our faith in a higher purpose and are motivated out of love for others. Jimmie’s example has shown me how one relationship focused on helping another reach greater dignity and achievement through sports can be an inspiration to others.
Through the relationships I have built with fellow athletes and supporters, I have witnessed incredible love and have found the joy that comes from working with others to accomplish goals that are seemingly impossible.
Even today, my triathlon experiences help me to be motivated more by love for others in everything I do in my life.
Robbie Steiner, Indiana