Jan 3, 2020
It truly is the best time to be a runner. As a woman, an underprivileged child, an elite runner, a master’s runner, a blind runner, or any other type of runner you can think of, your opportunities are massive and growing.
Today you have access to some of the best information on running, from internet forums to professional studies. You can run for a career or run for a hobby. You can track your miles with a watch, and you can run with like-minded strangers in new cities. The possibilities are simply endless.
This year the largest marathon in the world had the most participants it has ever had. Some 53,000 runners laced up and started the 26.2-mile race in New York City. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of this highly cherished event, and the New York Road Runners (NYRR) organization who puts on the race every year, expects the race to continue to grow.
Michael Capiraso is the President and CEO of the NYRR. This year was his 28th consecutive year of running the New York City Marathon. He is passionate about running, and even more so, helping other people get excited about running.
Today he talked to us about his job, the running initiatives they are working on, and some of his personal training habits and goals. Michael is one of those people that loves what he does, and it shows in his enthusiastic and happy leadership. Tune in to the Running for Real podcast today to learn more!
A significant amount of the NYRR’s day-to-day business is to educate runners and provide running opportunities to those that wouldn't otherwise have them. They work with former and current elite runners like Meb Keflezighi and Jenny Simpson who volunteer to spend time with kids, inspiring them to be healthy and active.
Creating a strong community of volunteers and team members is something Michael Capiraso has been very successful at. Everyone that participates in one of NYRR programs feels like thay are a part of something bigger than themselves. From volunteering at the marathon to donating to their “Team for Kids” program, there are many ways to get involved.
One of NYRRs initiatives involves donating running shoes to kids in their youth programs. In collaboration with New Balance, for each new pair of running shoes purchased from the New Balance Run Hub they donate a pair to a youth. Running is one of the simplest sports, all you need is a pair of shoes, and Michael wants to lessen that barrier even further for kids.
Capiraso and the rest of NYRR have found other ways to grow the running community by connecting runners around the world. While many of the events sponsored by NYRR take place in New York, they’ve always wanted to give opportunities everywhere. Today you can participate with and compete against someone in New York or Tokyo.
So how exactly does it work? NYRR works with the Strava running app to track your route and time. Simply download the app, decide where you want to run, and go for it! In addition, you can print out an official bib and enter to win prizes as a virtual race participant.
What about Michael personally? As someone focused on the running of others, Michael rarely talks about himself or his personal running journey. But as someone who has run marathons for three decades, he has plenty of advice to offer.
In 2018, on his 27th New York City Marathon, Michael ran his fastest marathon ever. This year he was on pace to complete another personal best when he suffered an injury at mile 20. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to beat his previous time, but he was still able to take away positives by sharing his experiences with others.
Each year Michael sets three training goals to switch things up. For this year he worked on his core, ran more of his miles slower, and ran the last 10 miles of the marathon course 26 times. These new ways of training are what keep things fresh and fun for Michael, so that he never puts too much pressure on himself or his race time.
Like Michael, you can approach the new year a bit differently. He suggests listening to other people and setting unique goals so that you can find ways to improve and new ways to enjoy running. What will you set out to do this year?
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Thank you to Michael, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.