Posted by: smilecoach | October 12, 2007


Last Sunday I witnessed one of the most motivating events of my life, The Chicago Marathon.  On the streets of Chicago I watched over 35,000 runners who were committed to putting themselves to the test of running 26.2 miles.  The runners came in all shapes, sizes and ages from all around the world.  This was the 30th anniversary for the marathon and it was an unusually hot day with the temperature at 88 degrees and the humidity about as high.  My wife and I were there, along with our daughter-in-law and two grandchildren to cheer on my son Brian as he competed in his first marathon. 

Before the race we stood with Brian on the street where the racers gather.   I knew the event was big, but I was not prepared for how big.  I was expecting 7,000 – 10,000 racers.  There were three times as many runners as I expected and they just seemed to keep coming and coming,  filling up Columbus Drive for as far as I could see.  I loved looking at all of their faces as they prepared for the event.  I could feel the energy of commitment  and motivaiton all around me.  You don’t run a marathon on a whim.  The motivation was so strong, I wanted to put on my shorts and shoes and actually participate in this motivational tsunami.  At the age of 62 and not being in shape, that wouldn’t have been a smart thing to do or pretty sight to witness.  I was jealous of my son for his being able to participate in the marathon.   

Everyday in my coaching I work with people who desire to accomplish marathon like goals.  I wanted to interview everyone one of the runners to find out how they attained their goal of running in the Chicago Marathon.  I was sure that somewhere in the sea of runners lay the secret to accomplishing great things in one’s life .  On this day I would settle for feeling the energy of motivation and not dive into discovering its source. 

Not only were there 35,000 runners, there were hundreds of thousands of fans lining all 26.2 miles of the race course through downtown Chicago.  The fans lined both sides of the streets, so that means there were 52 miles of fans cheering for the runners who were putting their all into the race.  The fans don’t just cheer for the people they know in the race.  They hoop, holler and ring cow bells for everyone that is running.  What a sight, 35,000 people going for a goal and hundreds of thousands of people cheering them on. 

I wonder, how can we create that everyday – people going for big goals while everyone cheers for them?

By the way Brian did finish the race.  It was an extra special celebration, because it was five years ago that he was diagnosed with Leukemia.  He has been Leukemia free for five years.  Thank you God!!!!! 



  1. May even a small portion of the charisma, dedication, love and energy created that day continue and grow in both your son and this wonderful world.

  2. As a result of your reading the blog and your response, it already has.

  3. Oh yeh!!! Feel the energy!!! Not too much compares with the start of a big endurance event like that!
    I also had a person of influence in the race as a first timer. I started the cross country program at a school I used to teach at. This boy used to call himself “fatboy” Now he loves running and loves being fit!!!
    His goal had always been to run a marathon, so he called me last week before he went there. He was jazzed to the max!!!
    The plan, the reginmen,the work, the goal….to toe the line….the outcome isn’t so important….it’s the effort to persist! Ahhhh….life is glorious!!!

  4. I must say something b/c I love your analogy.

    What if all “races” in life, some about speed, more often about endurance, were met with an adoring crowd cheering on the sidelines?!

    What if we could live our lives taking turns being the inspiring achiever and the admiring audience…

    Thanks! Perfect timing but then isn’t it always?!

    Love & Light

    Sherri aka SRG

  5. Frank: Actually life is like that – people cheering us on. After giving your great words some thought, I mind asked me to rephrase the question – to how often do we hear the cheers or the accolades or the encouragement or a friend’s willingness to listen as an applause of acknowledgement to our being and needing to be heard. Do we ask to be supported – like a runner does? Do we allow others greatness to encourage our greatness or do we compare and then judge ourselves. The great thing about a marathon is that EVERYONE WINS!!! You finish – you win! You don’t – you still win the respect of doing something most people would not even attempt. The surge of energy on that day is a culmination of nonjudgement, of unconditional support and enthusiasm without resistance. Be still, allow yourself to feel and you will hear the cheers – daily!

    with gratitude for your space to be my space

  6. I believe that we all have goals that we want to achieve in life. Some people aren’t vary clear about those goals, while others set goals that are well below what they are capable of acccomplishing. I seldom, if ever, encounter anyone who has set a goal that is light years beyond their capacity to achieve. Regardless of what the goal is, we all want to be encouraged while we are preparing and applauded when we go for it. And as Jeannette said, we need to make sure we are listening for those cheers.

    Thanks to all of you who have responed to this post. Each time I read a new response, in my mind I go right back to the excitment of the day. Keep the responses coming.

    I am cheering for all of you as your go for your goals. If you can’t hear me, just call me and I will be glad to cheer on the phone for you.

  7. Oh, Frank. . .What JOY for you and for your entire family to be such a HUGE part of Brian’s celebration of LIFE! of God-size goals and enthusiastic, wholehearted cheering-on!!!

    I even have goosebumps on my toes after reading about your experience!!! By the way, I am also doing cartwheels for Brian!!!

    I know that energy and excitement and inspiration at the beginning of races–one that made you want to run with them all!

    I’m also admiring your restraint at not interviewing the participants to discover their reasons for running, their daily dedication practices, and the break-throughs to love/joy life patterns in the process–but I bet you put that on your list of things to delve into later 🙂

    Thanks for being such a MAGNIFICENT cheer-er!!!
    My life is RICHER for it–for YOU!!!

  8. Jan, thanks for your comment. You are right it did take restraint not to do the interviews. However, Chicago Cub fans are always saying, “Wait till next year.”

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