I Can’t Give Up!
March 1990

“I Can’t Give Up!” Tambuli, Mar. 1990, 9

I Can’t Give Up!

My husband, Alvaro, entered his first marathon while he was in high school in Colombia. Much to his surprise, he won!

After that, he decided to start running more seriously. But he needed a pair of running shoes, and they were expensive. His parents were struggling to support their family of eight, and he hesitated to ask them if they would buy the shoes. However, when they realized how determined he was to run, they bought the shoes.

Alvaro joined the high school track team and trained daily. But as his first competition approached, the shoes began to wear out. Two weeks before the race, the soles tore away from the tops of the shoes. Alvaro didn’t want to ask his parents for another pair of shoes, so he found some thread and sewed them back together.

On the day of the race, Alvaro started off strongly and stayed comfortably with the group of runners as they circled the track. With only a few laps to go, he pulled away from the other runners to take the lead. At that same moment, the wire worked loose from the sole of his shoe and began to dig into his foot. Despite the pain he felt as the wire pierced his skin, he thought to himself, “I can’t give up.”

He didn’t. Running with determination, he crossed the finish line in first place—but with his foot cut and bleeding in several places.

Now, years later, I gain strength from my husband’s determination. He wakes early, trains in snowstorms, and comes home exhausted after a long run. At times, when my problems seems overwhelming, I think of him crossing the finish line with his foot torn and bleeding.

Today, when Alvaro runs in marathons, I wait eagerly at the finish line, shivering with excitement. I hope to obtain a similar determination in my own life and someday to win a far greater race—the “marathon” of life.

Photography by Craig Moyer