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After reading the previous chapter about all of the people who were examples of faith, the “great cloud of witnesses”, Paul reminds us of the constant encouragement their faithfulness should be to us. Hebrews 12:1 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. The Christian life involves hard work, but we are not alone. We have the ability to look back and see those who have run the race before us and know it can be done. We must also shed the things in our lives that hold us back. When was the last time you saw a competitive runner wearing a backpack?