Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Life Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Yesterday’s tragic events at the finish line of the venerable Boston Marathon will do little too diminish the spirit of the international running community, large city event organizers and the American public at large. If you’re currently training for a marathon or other major personal goal, don’t let yesterday’s senseless tragedy curtail your plans. If you’ve ever considered training for a marathon or major personal goal, now might be a good time to do so. If a friend or loved one is soon planning to participate in a major milestone test of their mettle, don’t be afraid to go out and cheer them on. They need you out there. We need you out there. Otherwise the coward(s) who planned yesterday's events will have won. 

You can’t live your life in fear. No matter how diligently we try to secure, insure, lock down and risk-manage our public spaces, there’s no place that can be made 100 percent safe. Humans are social animals and they’ll continue to congregate in large numbers to cheer their everyday heroes on. The coward(s) who tried to derail Boston’s largest annual celebration of human achievement will soon be forgotten like a blister on a proud finisher’s instep or the 4 year-old smelly sneakers at the back of your closet. Unlike the runners, the wannabe terrorists who cooked up yesterday’s disruption fell far short of their intended goals. Hats off to Boston’s race organizers, emergency personnel and good Samaritans in the crowd for that.

What B2B professionals can learn from runners

From the international elite runners to back-of-the-packers, marathon runners are a hard-boiled, nose-to-the grindstone resourceful lot. They train mostly in obscurity, battling their inner demons more so than their competitors. They draw attention to themselves only begrudgingly. They thrive on consistency, goal-setting and perseverance, pushing their limits both mentally and physically.

Distance runners generally don’t have super-human size, strength, blazing speed or extraordinary leaping ability. They don’t slam dunk, hit home runs, do touchdown dances, hit holes-in-one or throw down 720s from the top of the half-pipe. They’ve simply found a way to get the most of the endurance gene we all have inside of us and put one foot in front of the other on days when others hit the snooze button, pull the covers over their heads, skip the gym and go out for brunch.

Like any successful marketing campaign, runners know you need to be consistent, stick to your discipline, make midcourse corrections when needed and suck it up when things go wrong. No excuses.


Like B2B marketing, running’s an incredibly simple thing to do. It’s also a very hard thing to do well. What the bad guys don’t get is that all 25,000 runners accomplished their goal just by making it to the starting line. The race itself was simply  the icing--the reward for months of personal sacrifice, nagging injuries and long lonely miles leading up to the event. And for those who were senselessly injured yesterday, they’ll find a way to recover and come back stronger and more determined than ever to toe the line. That’s something the bad guys can never take away.

Disclosure: The author of today’s post is a former national class age-group runner who has completed 18 marathons, including Boston twice and is listed in Who’s Who in USA Track & Field.

Tags: Boston Marathon, #boston marathon explosion, Overcoming adversity. What B2B marketers can learn from runners.


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