making it out of Egypt and into the promised land
settling the land and protected it from enemies
Many suffered, many did not reach the goal
We remember them, how they lived their lives and what they accomplished by faith. Their lives and accomplishments are an example for us. They had a goal and were willing to make sacrifices.
And we have Jesus as our example. He strived and suffered, and he has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Thomas Long in his commentary Hebrews in the Interpretation series characterizes the author's message:
The Preacher knows that it is late in the day, and that we have already run several sprints and dashes. We are winded and tired, but this is the race that counts, so we are to strip off anything that would slow us down--all the weighty encumbrances and shackling sins and run our portion of the race with endurance. The trail has already been blazed; the path of the race has already been forged by Jesus. He is the lead runner, and he shows us where to go, since he is the "pioneer," the one who sets the course. He also shows us how to run, since he is the one who runs the race with flawless form, the "perfecter of our faith." Indeed, it is Christ who makes it possible for us to run at all.