Challenge SPORT

By Sierra Fink

Chasing two minutes

Chanelle Price on how she won the time battle

Chanelle Price competes
DES MOINES, Iowa - JUNE 20, 2013: Chanelle Price competes in the Women’s 800 Meter Run at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. (Photo Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

June 23, 2014 It may not seem like a long amount of time, but two minutes and two seconds was all Chanelle Price needed to win the 2014 IAAF World Indoor 800-meter champion, the first American woman to do so.

For most of Chanelle's life, two minutes on a track determined her self-worth and significance.

At 16 Chanelle was already competing in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, and after high school she ran track at the University of Tennessee.

Professionally, Chanelle ran in the 2013 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Florida Relays, the Ponce Grand Prix, and the Prefontaine Classic before winning the 2014 World Indoor Championships.

The athlete recently posted on Instagram what her sport means to her: "Running: a God-given gift that I use to glorify Him; an occupation that allows me to travel the world; a sport that helps me create lifelong friendships. Running plays so many important roles in my life."

Chanelle says she had always believed in God, but never had a personal relationship with Him.

"Right before coming to college, I started to go to church with a friend," Chanelle says. "I was really excelling in track in high school—running unheard-of times for girls my age and kind of dominating and winning six national titles. I started understanding that I was blessed and I was gifted. So to me, going to church was a way to say 'thank you' to God, and in my eyes that was enough at the time."

One particular church service felt different from the rest and Chanelle eventually gave in to the anxious nudge in her heart and made the decision to dedicate her life to God.

"I didn't really know what I was doing, but it felt right at the time," she explains.

Coming off a dominating high school performance, Chanelle felt driven by the expectations of others to continue performing at that same level in college.

"It was just rough; I got injured a lot," she admits. "I lost confidence. I wasn't really dominating like I wanted to. It wasn't a bad career by far, but it just wasn't what I expected. And that was rough for me."

"It was really rough to handle because honestly, track was like my god. My self-worth basically depended on how I performed at practice and at meets. Track was definitely my idol. When I wasn't performing up to my expectations, I was really hard on myself and would get really down."

After the 2013 USA Championships, Chanelle sat in her hotel room and sobbed. With the lights off and in total darkness, her eyes were again opened to the reality of what track had become in her life.

Chanelle Price
SOPOT, POLAND - MARCH 9, 2014: Chanelle Price of the United States looks on with her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women’s 800m final at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. (Photo Julian Finney/Getty Images)

"My whole self-worth was based on everything I did in track," she confesses. "I was completely depressed, and at that moment I really had no one to turn to. I remember hearing God [in my mind] say, 'You have to stop; you can't do this anymore. It's not healthy. You need to put everything aside and start chasing after Me.'"

And just like that, she knew building a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ was more important than the two minutes it took her to run 800 meters.

The next day, Chanelle met Jodi Tarasewicz from Athletes in Action, who provides collegiate and elite athletes resources and encouragement.

"She was just at rock bottom, thinking, 'What do I do?' " Jodi says of Chanelle. "She was definitely questioning God and just questioning a lot of other things, but it was more because she wasn't competing as well as she had before she went to college. She was questioning if she should even continue running because she wasn't where she used to be."

With various spiritual mentors at her side, a Bible study group, and a new attitude, Chanelle found a whole new vibrancy in her relationship with Christ.

"Honestly, God is my motivation on the track," she says now. "I don't really care about the expectations like I used to. He's the only person I'm running for. My self-worth is no longer defined by how I perform on the track: it's defined by what He says is true about me."

"So I go into the races and the practices with such a clear mind. It's fun again, and I feel His presence when I run. He is blessing me tremendously because of my walk with Him and because I'm chasing after Him."

A Bible verse that expresses her new outlook is Acts chapter 20 verse 24, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."?

Courtesy of Athletes in Action

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