About The Name
Endurance events like the marathon and long-distance triathlons can be humbling experiences. We push ourselves past what most others would consider practical limits. In many cases, when our bodies signal that they have no more to give, we reach deep to find the mental courage and toughness to continue. When you think about it, there are many parallels that you can draw between completing an endurance event and being successful in business.
The idea for the modern marathon was inspired by the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, with the news of an important Greek victory over an invading army of Persians in 490 B.C. After making his announcement, the exhausted messenger collapsed and died. To commemorate his dramatic run, the distance of the 1896 Olympic marathon was set at 40 kilometers.
For the next few Olympics, the length of the marathon remained close to 25 miles, but at the 1908 Games in London the course was extended, allegedly to accommodate the British royal family. As the story goes, Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the lawn of Windsor Castle and finish in front of the royal box at the Olympic stadium - a distance that happened to be 26.2 miles (26 miles and 385 yards). The random boost in mileage ending up sticking, and in 1921 the length for a marathon was formally standardized at 26.2 miles.
Over the course of my career, I've completed a number of marathons and triathlons up to the Half Iron distance (70.3 miles). Despite these accomplishments, I'm much prouder of what I've done as an endurance coach with the Team In Training program of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The lessons that I've tried to impart to my athletes include goal setting and achievement, overcoming obstacles, commitment and perseverance, and the courage not only to reach the finish line but to start the journey in the first place.
Sounds a lot like the lessons that would apply to success in all aspects of our personal and professional lives, doesn't it? That's why three numbers like 262 (26.2) mean so much to me.