Anyone else out there feel as though they blinked their eyes, and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon was here?! What seemed so far away when we were busy battling the cold and digging ourselves from the mountains of snow is less than a week away. Thousands of people will come to our great city to prove the months of pain, sweat, and miles were worth it. It is a very personal test, as it’s different for all runners. Some are eyeing a Boston qualifier. Some are hoping to finish. As a middle-of-the-pack runner, I’m shooting for a new half marathon PR. No matter the goal, we will all take our place at the start line together.
I attended a leadership training last Friday called Leadercast at a local host site, and as I was listening to the speakers, many of their comments struck me. The theme of this year’s event was The Brave Ones. I guess my head was tuned in to running and racing, and I started thinking that we as runners are leaders. I think it’s the nature of the sport – we are constantly supporting and driving others to take up running, to run just a bit faster, to achieve what was thought unattainable. I dare any runner, whether elite, middle-of-the-pack, or slower paced, to say that he or she hasn’t inspired someone in some way. That makes you a leader in my eyes.
That being said, here are some takeaways from the training that I hope will motivate you like they did me.
Andy Stanley: Bold leadership/leaders have these four characteristics – clarity, focus, stubborn, resourceful.
- This one made me laugh because running requires clarity and focus and being resourceful, but you also have to be a little stubborn to want to continue. The run won’t beat you; you win and keep coming back for more.
CMDR Rorke Denver: Make bold corrections to get bold results.
- A runner can’t expect to run a great race by taking small steps. In order to excel, you need to make some major changes in the way you train. While it may be hard, the payoff is worth it.
Malala Yousafzai: Bravery has no limit.
- The fact you are making a commitment and taking your place at the start line shows you are brave enough to take the first step. How many people on the couch can say that?
Peyton Manning: No matter the outcome, don’t look back.
- Not every race goes the way you want despite all of the months of training. Remember that one bad race does not define you as a runner or a person. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t be writing this as a CLE marathon race ambassador because I would have given up after my horrible marathon in 2012.
Peyton Manning: Learn to thrive with being uncomfortable.
- Great things were never accomplished by staying in one’s comfort zone. A race is exactly the same way; it’s supposed to be hard and uncomfortable. That’s what makes it so great.
Aja Brown: Brave leaders aren’t superhuman.
- Everyday people like you and me can be leaders. Keep that in the back of your mind as you start your race, but that’s not to say you won’t feel superhuman after your accomplishment.
This was my personal favorite from the day, and I will close with it. Think of this when you feel yourself hitting the wall.
CMDR Rorke Denver: Pain is one of fear’s tactics. Lean into the pain. Recognize it is a growth opportunity, and that is where bravery lies.
Be brave, CLE runners, and best wishes for a great race. I’m excited to take my place with you on Sunday.