Today’s guest is an avid runner, and part of a group that has run marathons on all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica!). He joins Charlie today to talk about running these marathons, and the different and important lessons he learned on each continent. On the surface, the conversation is about marathons, but Charlie and Mike are really discussing the inner and outer journey of committing to a big goal, and what happens when you do.
[2:15] – Mike grew up running, but was diagnosed with diabetes at age 30, and he started to get health-conscious. During the recession when he took a pay cut, Mike gave up golf and took up running.
[4:10] – He joined a team and started training, and ran his first marathon in Cleveland, Ohio. His job position came with a lot of travel, and along the way he got connected with other people who were also runners. After he ran his first race abroad in the Netherlands, he fell in love with travelling and running. From then, he would work to schedule meetings and races in the same trip.
[6:15] – Each continent was a different experience for Mike. In North America, at the Detroit Marathon, his big lesson was about family – no one will support you like your family.
His lesson from the marathon in South America was that if you live with optimism, you can accomplish so much more than you think you can, just by having the right attitude and perspective of the world around you.
The marathon in Africa was probably the most influential. The race he ran was part of the Tusk Charity, and during the work around the race, the lesson was that everyone has gratitude inside them, and it’s important to find it and express it.
The lesson from Asia was that you need a team of professionals to get you to the finish line. There’s no reason that you can’t call upon the expertise of others to help you reach your goal.
At the London Marathon in Europe, his big takeaway was that you can be successful. And when you are successful, you can give in abundance.
He brought his daughter to his race in Australia, and was reminded that creating memories with your children and bonding with them is so important. Life moves fast, but you have to find the time to connect with your children.
Finally in Antarctica, he learned the most important lesson. The training for this race was particularly hard, and so was the race. He was working with his doctor throughout this time, and it turned out he had a blockage in one of his arteries. This was a wake-up call for his health, and coming out on the other side of this was one of the best things that has happened to him.
[15:45] – Running marathons on 7 different continents certainly represents a lot of dedication. This dedication translates to many other aspects of Mike’s life, especially his career. Marathons have been a different outlet and goal for Mike, and it’s something that takes a lot of time to train for. You always have to be looking at that next step in the progression to reach your goal.
[18:30] – When running becomes part of your lifestyle, and you’re serious about your goals, the people around you start to become supportive. For Mike, as he started progressing through his goal, his coworkers started to back his progress and he was able to get the time off he needed to travel to run. He would also try to organize smaller runs for workers at the plants he would visit for business, and it got a lot of people interested in getting out to exercise.
[21:40] – Mike experienced some injuries during the course of running these races, and did have to alter some plans to accommodate injuries. Mike never had doubts about accomplishing his goal of running all 7 marathons, but he did have to be flexible and attentive to his own needs to stay safe. What matters is that you keep moving forward even when things don’t go as planned.
[23:35] – While today’s conversation is about running specifically, it is also applicable to much of the creative work we do in our lives. Some days we’re in it, and some days there are things that get in the way of making the progress we want. We may waver on goals if we’re not sure it’s something we’re going to accomplish. For Mike, once he stated his goal out loud, he knew he was going to do it. For him, the doubt would have come between the time he had the idea and telling the first person. Having a big goal helped him stay motivated.
[27:25] – The race in Antarctica was the most difficult. The journey there was difficult, the course itself was tedious and monotonous, and the weather was not favorable. The reward and experience was well worth it; that was his 7th race so he received his 7 continents medal. The race he enjoyed the most was the one in Australia with his daughter.
[31:55] – His most transformative run was his marathon in Africa, for many different reasons. The race itself was on a preserve, and he got a new appreciation for the importance of keeping those animals around. They also visited some schoolhouses, which was quite a humbling experience for Mike.
[36:10] - The time after the 7 races were run was pretty difficult. There was celebration, but he also had his health scare. He had some procedures done for his arteries, but wasn’t prepared for the time after the surgery. The recovery was more difficult, and his medication had negative side effects. Mike used this opportunity to advocate for himself (and others) and to make some big changes to his lifestyle to ensure he would continue to be healthy.
[42:25] - Sometimes, we may experience post-accomplishment depression after we achieve a big goal. Now that Mike has achieved the goal of running the 7 marathons, he’s looking for the next big goal. He would like to reach people through his story, and hopefully help some people who can benefit from his experiences.
[44:05] - Mike is thinking his new big goal will be completing all 6 major marathons (London, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Chicago, and Boston). Other than that, he’s continuing to work and travel and enjoy himself.
[46:03] - Mike’s challenge for listeners is to do something that isn’t health-oriented, but rather a mentorship challenge. Mentorship is one of the most important things we can do. Find someone to mentor, and teach them to be a mentor. The only way you can sustain a model where mentorship is successful is if you teach people to be mentors.
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