Jim Fraser ’63 always had the dream of running through the stadium tunnel ever since he attended ND as a student 50 years ago. During Reunion weekend, as he prepared to realize that dream and compete in the Sunburst marathon, he realized he forgot his shorts. So I lent him mine.
Before the race began, Fraser met a woman who is a cancer survivor who wanted to complete her first marathon since becoming cancer-free. About halfway, he passed that same woman and wished her well.
An impressive few short hours later, Fraser completed his marathon by running through the tunnel of victory and finishing across the 50-yard line in Notre Dame Stadium. That, however, wasn’t enough for Fraser. He immediately turned around and headed back along the trail to find the woman he had met earlier.
He found her but she was running out of steam during the last 10 miles. Her winning attitude and confidence were quickly vanishing too as the sun rose through the morning sky. “I’m not a winner, I can’t finish this,” she said. “No, this is your day to finish. I believe in you!” said Fraser.
He ran back to the stadium and worked with his son Scott ’92 to convince the stadium director to leave the stadium gate open long enough for this woman to finish. Then he convinced a NDSP officer to drive the patrol car to pick up this woman, now near mile 22-23 with less than half an hour to finish before the gates of her dream closed.
Fraser and the officer found the woman, picked her up — one man on either shoulder — and carried her to the squad car. Sirens roared and lights flashed as the squad car approached the stadium — the winners had arrived!
The woman walked with Jim at her side through the tunnel quietly in apparent shame, but the moment she exited the tunnel to the field, the speakers in the stadium blasted the Notre Dame Victory March (recorded by the finest marching band in the land), which Scott had arranged for her arrival.
This woman was immediately lifted with an unforeseen joy. Her heart and head were held high as she sprinted to the finish line at the 50-yeard-line, receiving the applause by all the race volunteers present at the finish. That day she fought a good fight and, with a little help, became the winner she had envisioned.
Miracles — extraordinary gifts from God, signs of His activity in this world — happen daily. Often, however, sometimes all it takes is a loving heart and a willing spirit to change a life and to facilitate miracles in another.
I am convinced a miracle occurred in that stadium last Saturday. Now, I have the running shorts to prove it.
Kyle Cowdrick is a junior at Notre Dame discerning his call of ministry through biomedical engineering. Email him at email@example.com.