By Mike Tenbusch | October 21, 2022
When we lined up to run the Great IntSam 5K in San Pedro Sula last week, I knew I could take at least half of the 40 or so kids lined up around me. Sure, it felt like 110 degrees, but they had to run in the same heat too. I had this. Even the herd of cows that came down the road just as we were about to start couldn’t take me off my game. Half these kids were going to finish behind me.
“Tres, dos, uno, Vamanos!” Andrew shouted, and the kids took off, sprinting down a three-mile stretch of dirt road.
“Rookies,” I thought to myself. “They’ll be walking after a minute in this heat.”
If you want to know the heart of our scholars, this race captured it. I ran my best race over the stony road in the sweltering heat—and came in last. The young people ahead of me just kept going, and going, despite how difficult the conditions were.
With about a mile to go, I did find one of them walking ahead of me. I recognized Edward, the winner of last year’s race, and figured he must have gotten cramps or something to still be on the road. But I was too tired to ask and felt some degree of relief as he started to jog behind me.
After finishing the race, I made my way to a bench and Edward followed me. He gave me his bandana to wipe the sweat from my eyes and brought us both a bottle of water. Then he went out again and found an abanico and fanned us both with it.
“Man,” I thought to myself, “this heat must have really gotten to him too!”
I was feely pretty rickety, and for a good 20 or 30 minutes, Edward fanned us.
When it came time for the awards ceremony to begin, the lively beat of Latin music drew more than a hundred people into a close circle. Our team members from Honduras taught our team members from other nations how to do a traditional Honduran dance. Shouts of encouragement and lots of laughter drew everyone together, but I was too tired to move a muscle.
“Vamos,” I said to Edward in my best Spanish, “Tiene divertido.” Go, go and have fun!
Edward refused to leave, saying, “Me siento tan mal por ti.” I feel so bad for you.
Tears filled my eyes as I realized I had it all wrong. Edward hadn’t stopped running the race. He had won it and then came back looking for me. He wasn’t fanning us because he was tired. He was fanning me because of how weary I was. He refused to leave me until I was better. I was the man on the side of the road, and Edward was the Samaritan who stopped to help restore me to good health.
As you give to support scholars like Edward, and those in San Pedro Sula who ran their best race to help bring water to their peers in Tegucigalpa, know that you are investing in people who are indelibly marked and destined to be Samaritans for life.
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