"Come on, Jessica!" Martin yelled. "You can do it!"
Jessica kept running. It was getting harder. This race was the longest one she had ever run in competition. She had been training for this track meet for months, but this last section of the cross-country route was the hardest.
Martin ran alongside her for a bit.
"You are awesome! You only have a little bit to go! You're going to beat your own record by a minute if you pick it up a notch!"
Jessica took a deep breath and pressed her body into a faster speed. She could see the finish line up ahead. She knew she had worked hard to beat her best time. She felt like she got a second wind as she sprinted. She never removed her eyes from the finish line. Soon she was crossing it in her own record time!
Martin caught up to her a few minutes later, cheering wildly. Jessica continued to stroll around and breathe heavily, cooling down. Martin almost knocked her over with a big bear hug. She was grateful for his friendship.
"Martin, I couldn't have done this without you," Jessica said sincerely.
"I knew you could do it. You have great potential as a runner," Martin answered, his arm still draped around Jessica.
Martin used to run track, but he had broken his ankle in his junior year. He never could quite run as fast as he used to after that, although he still tried. He now focused efforts on encouraging and coaching others. For the last six months, Martin had worked with Jessica. He trained and pushed her just enough to help her without discouraging her. He had helped her see that her potential as a runner was much better than she thought. When she first started training, she could only run about one-third of the distance she made today. What a great feeling to finish at the time she made today. She never would have guessed she could have done this.