What the NYC Marathon Runners taught me.

In case you didn’t see the swarms of people with aluminum foil wrapped around them yesterday, the NYC Marathon was held this weekend.

The marathon is one of those weird periodical New York tourist events where thousands upon thousands of people descend upon New York City . . . and none of them go to see a Broadway show.

Shows are always trying to come up with new ways to get the marathon participants to run up to the box office, but it never seems to work.  Take the marathon, add in Halloween and sprinkle in a little Daylight Savings Time ending, and you have a horrific week.  (Don’t believe me?  Just wait a few hours for the grosses to come out on this very blog.)

Unless you’re a pasta shop, or, well, the manufacturer of those aluminum foil capes they wear when they finish, odds are you didn’t have a good weekend.

But those marathon runners sure did.

I watched them exit Central Park on my way to work, getting cheered on by their friends, getting ready to cross their finish line.  They were beaten up, but smiling.

For a second I thought, “I could never run a marathon.”

But then I looked a little closer. There were all types of people about to complete their 26.2 mile journey.  And they weren’t all the perfect example of a runner.  Some had a few years on ’em.  Some had a few extra pounds on ’em.  Some had awkward running styles.  But they were doing it.  They were running a marathon, and about to finish.

That’s when I realized something . . .

Why sure, I’m eating Jiffy Pop popcorn right now with a side of Swedish Fish.  And sure, golf is the only real workout I get.  But as I looked at those runners I realized that if they could run a marathon, I certainly could.  I just need to train.  To practice.  But more importantly, I needed to want to run a marathon.

I can run a marathon.  I just choose not to.  Big 26.2 mile difference.

So many folks start off conversations with me (including clients that come to me for consults) by saying, “I can’t produce this show,” or “I can’t write this.”  It’s just not true.  You can.  If you want to.

And look, this isn’t self-help, motivational, psycho babble BS.  This is simple facts.

Whatever you want to do, other people have done.  And I’d bet that you’re at least as talented, smart, and passionate as half of them.

If they are doing it, surely you can.

And it doesn’t matter if what you want to do is produce something, write something, or become a heart surgeon for G-d’s sake.  You just have decide you want to do it, then just like a marathon, take it one mile at a time.

(Ironically, the hardest part of running a marathon isn’t actually running the marathon, it’s deciding you want to.  Once you figure out what the marathon is in your life, the rest will just fall into place.)


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  • Katherine says:

    You are the BEST, Ken!

  • Ed from CT says:

    Isn’t producing a show like running a marathon- where you need the big kick the closer you get to the finish line of Opening Night?

  • Debbie Saville says:

    Great post Ken. This is a quote that I live by…

    “It’s not that you don’t have the time, you choose not to make the time”

    I attended a motivational seminar years ago and this is the only thing I remember from the 2-day event. I believe these are very powerful words to live by because when needed, it reminds me to put into my day what matters most.

  • John Lallis says:

    Couldn’t agree more. If you don’t do it, there’s someone else who will. Derek Jeter was not the most talented ballplayer in the last 20 years, but no one worked harder or believed in himself more.

  • Paul Gavriani says:

    Thanks, Ken. As someone who has run 23 marathons with many more planned AND as someone always waiting around to “have more time” to focus on my theater writing, this one really hits home for me. I love the way you pull disparate topics together and sharpen them into a pointed truth. Very interesting, and always encouraging, as ever! Paul

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