What is the universal theme of the short story "Raymond's Run?"  

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The short story "Raymond's Run" has a few universal themes in it.  One would be growth and development.  Another theme would be the theme of identity.  If I had to pick one, I would pick the theme of identity though, because I believe that the theme of growth and development fits within identity.  As Hazel matures through the story, her sense of identity changes with it.  

When the story begins, Hazel identifies herself as a runner.  

‘‘I’m serious about my running and I don’t care who knows it.’’

Hazel isn't just a naturally talented runner.  She is dedicated to her craft.  She practices all of the time and actively seeks out opportunities to make herself better.  She thinks things like dresses and May Pole dances get in the way of training, because they take time and money away from running and training.  To a certain extent, Hazel also feels that her brother, Raymond, interferes with her running too.  She fiercely defends him from bullies, but at times Hazel feels that it is an inconvenience to care for him.  

That attitude changes dramatically when Hazel sees her brother running.  Hazel sees that Raymond is a naturally gifted runner and could be quite fast with the proper training.  

"And it occurs to me, watching how smoothly he climbs hand over hand and remembering how he looked running with his arms down to his side and with the wind pulling his mouth back and his teeth showing and all, it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner."

Her outlook has shifted 180 degrees.  Hazel is no longer focused on herself and making herself better.  She now sees herself as a coach who gets a sense of achievement through making someone else better.  

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