America was founded on great men and women who did not give it. They fought for what was right, and some even lost their lives so that others would have the chance for a better life. This is the kind of spirit in Paul's words
Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person obtains the prize? So run to win! 1 Corinthians 9:24
Paul is challenging us to be aware, alert and ready to run the race. The word he uses for "race" means an endurance race that will take everything you have to win. His focus in using that word is that we should as Christians never hold back but daily give our all, our full attention and concentration, to win. Because the race is long, we must also pace ourselves so we might win.
The Greek word for "obtain" means to see something of great value, something you have desired for a long time and to pounce on it, grab it, and hold onto it with all of your might and great joy. It is the joy you see on an Olympic runners face when they have given their all, every ounce of who they are and their reward is that they have won the race.
With this in mind, one translation put this verse this way. "Don't you know that those who compete in a footrace run with all their might and strength against the other runners, but only one wins the competition and takes the prize? In light of this, run with all the might you can muster! Go the distance, and pace yourself to make sure you have enough energy to get to the finish line, where you will finally latch hold of and possess that which you have been so passionately pursuing!"
Paul realized that the race ahead of him was worth it if he needed to get a side job he would do that. If he needed to act like a Jew to reach the Jews or a gentile to reach the Gentiles it didn't matter. If he were thrown into prison, beaten, shipwrecked none of it matter he was in the race to win and not going to allow any "minor" inconveniences stop him. What minor inconveniences are holding up your race? Keep in mind that you are in this race to win. Don't allow anything to slow you down or stop you. Keep your eyes on the prize and go for the win!