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Running Origin Story

Posted by George Parker on

I have spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs. One of the first things you will hear from a founding team is their origin story - that story that details the eureka moment when a persistent problem is solved and then the accompanying journey to bring that solution to the world. 

Origin stories are exhilarating and inspiring. The stories humanize the business, product, or service. 

This past weekend, I was in New York City for a video and photography shoot. While there, I was reminded that NYC was the epicenter of my own origin story: My Running Origin Story. 

In 2007, I was living in New York City working in the financial industry. And I was working,  routinely clocking 90 hour weeks. I was learning, but was physically exhausted. My diet was poor. I was frequently sick. And, I was generally down trodden. 

Then, one evening I ran. 

Now, I had run cross-country for two years in High School. I was an average runner, but enjoyed the sport. However, in the eight years after High School, I had not ran.

On that first night, I ran from my apartment in the Lower East Side to the East River. The next evening, I ran up 1st Avenue - dodging the bags of trash and late-night crowds. Eventually, I would run across the Brooklyn Bridge. I ventured west to the Hudson River and up to Riverside Park and even the George Washington Bridge. I ran past the United Nations while diplomats where in General Assembly. I ran up 5th Avenue and through Harold Square in the height of the holiday season.  I ran all through the Upper East Side and the Upper West - and could clearly distinguish the two hemispheres of the world. 

Then, one day I discovered Central Park. After that day, this green sanctuary in the center of Manhattan become my refuge. I would run the 6 mile outer loop fast or slow depending upon the interrupting sites of ice skaters, wildlife, horses, concerts, and sporting activities. To this day, Central Park is my favorite place to run in the world. 

My return to running was capped that first year with the Staten Island Half Marathon. The race was hard, but extremely rewarding. I remember "kicking" after 6 miles thinking I was halfway through - oops, my math was off on that one. Most memorably, I was running next to a gentlemen the last mile who was controlled and composed. He was telling his running buddy that this was a training run for the New York City Marathon in a few weeks. 

A marathon. Hmm - I wondered if I could do that next? The rest is history. 

So, what's your running origin story? I would love to hear. 

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