From a marketing perspective, creating a devil-themed 5k obstacle course is a brilliant idea in a place termed “Sin City”. Would you get the same turnout if you created an angel dash?

Creating a run such as the Devil Dash doesn’t exactly appeal to the church crowd, however, can you still find redemption in a race like this? I believe this idea and theme can go in line with everyone’s testimony or life story of how they found Christ…even though they are surrounded by sin.

Represented on this 5k trail running course were obstacles relating to the seven deadliest sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. I signed up for this not having a clue what I was getting myself into. This was my first official trail run complete with obstacle courses.

It was May 2012 and I wasn’t thinking about the heat when I signed up for the 11:45a wave. So my journey began. I felt good and ready to conquer the world. The gun went off and I made a mad dash to get in front of as many people as possible. At the beginning of the route there was a steep incline, so steep they actually put ropes to help you get down to the bottom. I flew down it, literally flew as the grade was insanely steep. A few yards away there were tires set across the trail for runners to step through. It felt like football camp all over again. It stood to reason that if you went down a steep embankment somewhere along the line you would need to go straight up. As soon as this thought entered my head I look up and see what? A long grueling trail leading straight up. I quickly began strategizing in my head, “walk the inclines and run the rest”. I made it up the hill with a little oxygen to spare.

Around a few bends and up and down a few more smaller hills I see this A-frame structure constructed of 2×4’s. As I came closer I saw people climbing up one side and rappelling down the other. Waiting through the line for a few minutes, I began my climb. Made it down the other side only to be greeted with another steep hill. It was a brutal ascent and the trail just became narrower and narrower. Everyone began to walk as the heat began taking effect on all the runners. After that insane part of the course was finished I saw a cargo net that everyone needed to crawl across. Made it through the cargo net and was off to “hell on wheels” where there was a series of smaller hills, moguls, is probably the best way to describe then. It was a trip running over those. As I turned another corner, I see a cargo net we need to crawl through. It was lying on the ground and we need to crawl under it. On to the home stretch I went and as the heat just kept beating down on me, my strategy went out the window. I was walking at this point just to keep from collapsing. Soon enough there was a vision of the end and it was all downhill. I ran down yet another steep embankment and towards another A-frame obstacle. Luckily for my wave, they had to close the climb for safety, but we needed to go through a series of bungies to enter the mud pit. I heard about getting muddy and I am glad it was at the end of the race. The mud felt great as it cooled my body down. As I army crawled through it I needed to keep my head down so the barbed wire didn’t stick me. Out of the mud I came onto the blood bath. There were these huge above ground pools that were red water and it cleaned the mud off you. It felt even more refreshing than the mud pit. Out of the blood bath I came through the end of the course there were rings of fire and the finish line.

As I had time to reflect on the race I had run I was reminded of my own testimony. Sure this race was fun, but there is a real life story and application here. How many people live their life in sin apart from God? Life is a journey, an obstacle course if you will, and you keep sinning and sinning through life choices and obstacles that may come your way. When you hit rock bottom you feel like you are in a mud pit with barbed wire hanging over your head. All of your past signs just conglomerate together until you can no longer bear the burden yourself. The imagery here is spot on to the race I ran. Enter the blood bath…The mud was washed away. Jesus washed our sins with his blood. He’s cleansed our sins when make the decision to follow Him. Not only is it refreshing physically and spiritually, but you will find redemption at the end of the race.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24