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A Lesson in Persistence

By Vic Johnson
Goal Achieving Expert
Updated: September 28, 2008
My son and I participate in a charity event benefiting Multiple Sclerosis research, encompassing a 150 mile bicycle ride from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City, NJ and back over 2 days. I've done it for several years every Sept. and find it challenging, enjoyable and satisfying. Two years ago, as I was at the very beginning of the ride, mile 1, I passed a fragile looking Oriental woman who appeared to be in her 70's. She was riding an old fashioned girl's bike and wearing a dress. Understand that over 6000 cyclists ride in this annual event, most of whom have expensive bikes and wear special clothing. It was apparent she gave no thought at all to the fact she looked somewhat out of place or that she was being passed by absolutely everyone in the field.

I didn't give her much thought the remainder of the day and finished day one by about 1:30 in the afternoon. My wife picked us up at the finish line and we went to our hotel to get cleaned up. We showered and relaxed for a while and decided to head back to the boardwalk to get some dinner. Our driving route took us through the last two or three miles of the bicycling course and at about 5:30 in the evening we saw the out of place, little old lady, just coming in to the finish line. She had ridden a little over 75 miles in about 11 hours.
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I thought to myself what a lesson in persistence. Her pace seemed terribly slow but she kept on keeping on and didn't give up. Slowly, one mile, one turn of the pedals at a time she conquered the course. This frail little old woman refused to be beaten and accomplished a physical feat that physically tests me each time I do it.

I had forgotten this story for some time and was going through some pictures posted by the organization from this past September's event, and I found her picture. It reminded me of the story and I thought to myself what an inspiration to all of us who are currently setting our goals. We need only to follow the example of this woman: keep our minds keenly tuned to our goal, and one step at a time, with persistent effort, we're sure to get there.

- Contributed by Chris B., New Jersey

Thanks Chris. Outstanding example of persistence!

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