All Runners are Champions!


Red Reaching - LEGO® Sculpture by Nathan Sawaya


This week while on vacation, my wife Debbie and I took a walk along Keawakapu Beach (in Kihei, HI) to the Shops at Wailea.  We like to go there so we can have our favorite coffee (that a fellow vacationer recently turned us on to) at the Honolulu Coffee Company.  As we were walking through the shops, I saw this sculpture through the window of the Eclectic Image Gallery and it spoke to me.  It’s made completely out of LEGO® bricks (yes, legos!).  It’s the vision and creative artistic work of Nathan Sawaya, who actually published a book titled “The Art of the Brick: The Pictorial” that’s a collection of photos of some of Sawaya’s most amazing sculptures and portraits.  This particular sculpture is called “Red Reaching,” and when I saw it, I instantly thought of a runner crossing the finish line.  Many runners raise their hands in the air when crossing the finish line and us runners know exactly what that feeling is like.  This picture (taken w/my iPhone) honestly does not do this sculpture justice!  In person, it has many more obvious details, even down to the nose!  Seeing it in person is both mesmerizing and breathtaking.  Click here for a more detailed picture.

Debbie and I went back to the gallery when it was open this past Wednesday, and I must have stared at this sculpture for 10 minutes.  While I was looking at it and all its spectacular detail and expression, intense feelings went through my me.  My mind took me on an incredible journey back to the finish line of several marathons–that’s how powerfully this sculpture hit me.  No matter what type of race you compete in, from a 5K to an Ultra-Marathon, there is nothing like the feeling of crossing the finish line and the wave of accomplishment that flows through your body.  You could be knocking at death’s door when you cross, but you can always find enough energy to raise your hands and head up high (before you collapse).  I’m not sure if Nathan is also an athlete or ever ran a race, but he sure captured the moment perfectly.

As I was staring at “Red Reaching” it also occurred to me that “All Runners are Champions.”  Our sport is a personal conquest strictly tailored to ourselves.  Most of us are not competing with anyone except ourselves.  We don’t get paid big bucks to run a marathon, (it actually costs most of us big bucks!).  We do it for personal pride and accomplishment.  We have our own personal reasons why we run and they vary from one another like the change of the seasons.  It’s impossible, absolutely impossible, for a runner to explain or express the joy, pain, emotions and euphoria that we feel as we run to non-runners.  Runners certainly understand and relate to each other because we have been through the trenches together, though our experiences may vary from person to person.  Nonetheless, when we cross that finish line, “We are All Champions!”

I thank you, Nathan Sawaya, for your vision, artistic creativity and talent which stopped me dead in my tracks and allowed me to reflect on the many times I was “Red Reaching!”  You rock and, just like all us runners, we are all champions!


This sculpture is on display and for sale at Eclectic Image Gallery at the Shops at Wailea in Maui.  You can reach Becky at 808-874-0701 or email her at 


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Categories: Cool Memories, Inspirational People & Stories, Running Related, Social Media, Twitter
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  • Sue says:
    May 11, 2012 3:20 PM

    You hit the nail on the head. When I cross a finish line, no matter my time, it was a good day!


  • May 14, 2012 7:53 PM

    Very true! I just ran my very first 5K, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon’s 5K, last week and you bet it was a big deal to me!! 😀 Well said!

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