Berlin in the summer of 1936 .
It would be three years before war was declared, but storm clouds were already on the horizon.
We had been flown to Germany especially, a group of nine men with diverse backgrounds, drawn
from nine countries around the world. We had been brought together as being the best in our
field, hand picked elites, excelling in what we did.
Having spent the first couple of days in hiding, learning something of the local people and their
customs, we were now rearing to go.
Action came quicker than we ever imagined. That morning we had all been issued with more
suitable clothing for the task ahead, suitable footwear and easily identifiable shirts. Now we were
in the front line, facing the challange head-on, having been isolated on a grass stretch close to the
city centre. Things had gone smoothly up until this point, but were now reaching a climax.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye, along with a small band of men in grey shirts. He was
tall and gangling with a black Hitler style moustache, making his appearance dark and menacing.
I crouched low to the ground with the other eight men, waiting, waiting for his next move. He
had a gun in his right hand and looked ready to fire it at any time. This was the moment when we
hoped that all our discipline and training over the years would pay off.
How would we react, now that we were faced with the real thing?
He raised his gun in the air. I thought of making a break for it, but this went against everything I
had learnt in training. My heart was pounding, forcing surges of adrenaline through my body.
His finger hovered for a fleeting moment and then came down hard and purposefully on the
trigger. A loud report rang out and echoed around nearby buildings. My immediate reaction was
to get away as fast as I could. Like a scolded cat I ran for it, hoping, praying, that I hadn’t done
anything to cause him to glance at me and fire again.
In those first few seconds my only thought was to eat up distance between myself and the
gunman. Then my mind flitted randomly through the preceding years that had brought me here.
Because of snortings and heavy breathing I knew there were others around me, but strangely I
couldn’t see them. They, like me, had put themselves though hardships, deprivation, and in some
cases even persecution, to get this close to the glory that might follow.
My body was drained of energy although I had run less than a quarter of a mile. I seemed to be
out on my own, but knew I couldn’t make it much further.
I could hear footsteps behind me. Then a loud crack and a seering pain in my right calf. My
whole leg began to tighten. My training had equiped me for this type of situation, but I grit my
teeth in determination.The footsteps were wearing me down, rapidly closing in. In desperation I
made one last superhuman effort and flung myself forward to the ground, hitting my head and
grazing my arms and knees on the cinders.
I lay there, my chest heaving, trying to increase the oxygen supply to my lungs. I heard the
sounds of joyful voices approaching. I brushed cinders from my face and looked up.
It was my father, uncharacteristically animated, beaming like a Cheshire cat.
“Well done lad, mother and I are proud of you. It looks as though you have broken the record by a
good two seconds”
“ Thanks Dad ” I puffed. “Curiously, for a while down there at the start, I almost felt as though I
was having to overcome the tryrany and oppression of the world”.
Resting on my father’s shoulder, letting him take the burden of my aching limbs, I limped off the
track, to the rousing sound of the voices of faceless spectators that had watched the race from the
stands and sidelines. I smiled at my Dad.
“You know Dad, I did a lot of this for you” My father looked me squarely in the face.
“ Yes son, isn’t that just what our true father in heaven wants from all of us. The race of our
lives, run from start to finish, in victory, over all the evils of this world..
1 Corinthians 9 24 -26
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