Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bill Rodgers: Marathon Legend

Bill Rogers is renowned for winning both the esteemed Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon, 4 times each in the 1970s.  Bill started running at age 15, when he joined the cross country team in Newington, Ct with his brother, Charlie and his best friend Jason. He was the fastest kid in the school in the gym class mile, which he says motivated him to excel more! That one mile in a gym class started an incredible journey of many wins and accomplishments for Bill.

My son Jake, Bill and myself at the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon
 Bill graciously shared some of his insights with me. When asked about his motivation, he said,“(it) has always been the challenge of competition; that there’s always a challenge to excel; to improve. This door is open for all. Races are a pure intense energy of the most positive kind; I like the good will/ camaraderie of our sport..and the fact that one’s health/fitness is naturally (without drugs) improved.”

When I asked Bill what he likes about running, he said, “I like the achievement of running and the powerful feelings of satisfaction that mean..yes, you are doing the right thing.”
I love the fact that Bill, as a running hero to many, is candid enough to say, “many times over my 40 plus years of running and racing, I’ve failed to run as well as I wanted..That’s ok; we can all try again!” That is the attitude of a true winner, to have the courage and determination to get out there again and again! 

Bill’s words of wisdom to a new runner…. “Give yourself time; try the Galloway method of running/walking; and celebrate your fantastic success!”

My favorite piece of advice from Bill, “Don’t let anything get in your way!”


Triple F said...

Bill came to Rocky Mount years ago for a 5k/10k race for our community. Bill ran at the back of the pack for both races. Then stayed to talk . . . I mean really TALK with every kid there. He was the last person to leave. Bill is truly one of the most inspiring people I've had the opportunity to meet! Thank Bill!

Emily said...

Triple F, you're right Bill is very obliging and indeed generous with his time and attention always wiling to encourage other runners! He was so genuinely interested in everyone he talked to when I met him!