I heard another telling recently that has given the story a deeper meaning for me. The story continues after the race. The hare is in the hospital disgruntled and upset. He's just been diagnosed with cancer. The tortoise visits the hare in the hospital. Old friends talking about the race. The hare can't accept that he could be dying; he is a racer and just ran a race. Their conversation is great and it ends with the tortoise blowing the hare's mind letting him know "it was never a race".