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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Marathons – 26.2 Miles is a long way to run

Comments (5)

I ran the fourth marathon of my life today – the Ft. Collins Old Town Marathon. It wasn’t my fastest marathon (that was at Chicago last fall), but I was very happy with the results. I’ve been on a steady training regimen since the beginning of the year – which – given winter and travel has been challenging to keep up. However, my coach, Jeff Kline of RunFitUSA is both supportive and relentless – which helps.

Now running a marathon in 4:30 isn’t quite the same level of accomplishment as running a sub-4 minute mile – something that was first done 50 years ago. For a fabulous book on this quest – try The Perfect Mile : Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It – both historically detailed and extremely inspiring. However, a marathon and a mile are radically different races.

I’ve heard the cliche “this is a marathon, not a sprint” a bunch of times and decided to poke around on the web looking for it. Apparently even Meg Whitman said it at some point. E-businesses must be like marathoners – at least according to Chris Pickering. Enterprisewide supply chain technology initiatives should be like marathons – according to Ram Reddy as recently as May 1, 2004. I even ran across I guy I hadn’t thought of in about 10 years – Scott Johnson – the founder of Ntergaid who is now the co-founder of Feedster – who has an old blog where he refers to businesses as marathons.

You get the picture – it’s a cliche. But – it’s a good one. Anyone that has run a marathon knows that it’s a long way to run.

Anyone who has created a sustainable and valuable business knows it’s a long way to run.

  • Mike Thyken

    Even though a marathon IS a long way to run, I am convinced that anyone can do it. It is less about the physical effort and more about the mental. More than anything, a marathon requires requires preparation and discipline. Preparation to physically train, mentally prepare yourself for the pain and boredom of long runs, and the nutrition and lifestyle changes you must make to help your body succeed. The discipline to train in good and bad weather, when you have more interesting things to do, when you hurt, and when you are tired. The discipline to keep going when you want to stop.

    In many respects a marathon is a great analogy for business. Success in business is most often based on preparation and discipline. I ran a marathon early in my career and it gave me some good insights to apply to business. I have promised myself that I will run one again when I am 50 to prove to myself that I will not get old!

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