Leadership Stories - Why Running?
While I was in the Marine Corps we did a lot of long distance running. It varied between running in formation and running independently.
The distance we ran also varied from around 3 miles, to as much as 10.
I personally hated running in formation. You were forced to run at the pace of whoever was leading you. Most of the time, it was a slow pace of around seven and one half to eight minutes per mile.
I always enjoyed running on my own though. I wasn't a very fast runner. Even if I ran at a seven minute pace it just was much more enjoyable to do it on my own.
I was always asked the question, why does the Marine Corps like running so much. They would tell me it just doesn't make any sense. Why not use a stair stepper, or a tread mill. Why run?
I guess I don't know what the official answer is. Nor do I pretend to speak for the Marine Corps.
I guess the obvious answer is that it is good for you. However, there is more to it.
Boot Camp was an experience in and of itself, but as it relates to running it sat the stage for the rest of my life. We always ran in boots. The Drill Instructor's always pushed us harder and harder. It always seemed like I would take one more step than I thought that I could.
Just some of the runs we made in formation while in boot camp were amazing when I think back.
At no time was anyone left behind. That meant if any Marine fell behind we had to either carry him or run around him while he tried to keep up.
This certainly instilled the concept of a Marine leaves no one behind - Period!
Now back to why I believe that the Marine Corps feels so strongly about running.
I believe it boils down to endurance. If you have never run a long distance, it may not make sense.
When you really truly push yourself to a point where you want to stop, and keep going, it makes you stronger. You begin to believe that you can do anything.
That "Don't Quit" attitude carries over into everyday life.
Whenever you're faced with a situation where "Quitting" is an easy option, you are programmed to say "Not Me". You are in a mind set of “Quitting is not an option.”
Don't give up on your client, your report, your presentation, or most of all, Your Child!