Leadership Lessons From My First Official Half Marathon

Two years ago I did something crazy. I partnered with my pastor and a couple of friends to run a half marathon at 3 AM in the morning.

Little did I know what that experience would bring. It was a time of bonding, growth, and helping the less fortunate.

This half marathon was unofficial and untimed.

Half marathon runner high-fiving children

Photo by Ryan Hanson

Last year, I did something I believed I never could. I ran my first official full marathon. The marathon run was challenging, frustrating, and heart-wrenching.

That’s why, this year, when the opportunity presented itself to run for Team World Vision and clean water again, I begrudgingly said yes. I chose to run the Metro Health Grand Rapids Half Marathon because of clean water.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Overcomer Movie

Overcomer is the latest film from the Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen. They produce movies under the company of Kendrick Brothers Productions. Since they’ve begun working on movies, the Kendrick brothers have released multiple films including War Room, Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing The Giants.

Their faith-based approach to movie making is astonishing. They began creating movies with their church, Sherwood Baptist Church because they discovered many people said a movie leaves a more lasting impact than a church sermon. This is also one of the reasons I created the Reel Leadership series. Passing on leadership lessons from movies because a movie is easier to remember than a seminar or leadership conference.

Cast members from Overcomer the movie

Overcomer tells the story of Coach John Harrison (Alex Kendrick) as his basketball program shuts down at Brookshire Christian School. He is then recruited by principal Olivia Brooks (Priscilla Shirer) to take over the cross country team.

Run The Mile You’re In

A Book Review And Application Of Ryan Hall's Book Run The Mile You're In

Playing the comparison game is an easy thing to do. We see other leaders, bloggers, and thought giants running alongside us and we believe we should be where they are.

Looking at what everyone else is doing, we take our eyes off of what we were meant to do. This wrong focus takes us off course. We lose our passion for our vision. And we begin to feel like we’re not doing as much as we should.

American marathon Ryan Hall running in snowy terrain

This is the wrong mindset to have. We cannot compare ourselves to others are doing or have done. We can only focus on the mile we’re in.

Reading Run The Mile You’re In by Ryan Hall, the fastest American half marathoner, opened my eyes to some of the recent struggles I’ve been having. I’ve watched friends of mine go on to start exploding businesses, talk around the world, and have a “larger” impact than I have had and it has gotten on my nerves.

The Power Of Your Why

There is something powerful in knowing your why. This is the reason you’re doing what you’re doing. Whether this is why you lead, why you married your high school sweetheart, or why you continue to serve in ministry.

Your why will help push you further and farther than you ever believed possible. Many people witnessed this at the recent 123rd running of the Boston Marathon thanks to Micah Herndon.

silhouette photo of a person running on road

Photo by Lucas Favre

Micah served as a Marine in Afghanistan. He was lucky. He survived the brutal hell of war. Sadly, three of his friends did not.

Mark Juarez, Matthew Ballard, and Rupert Hamer all lost their lives in the war in Afghanistan. They didn’t return home alive. They passed in service to their country.

Leadership Lessons From A Marathon Run

What a marathon taught me about leadership

Never in my life did I want to run a marathon. I thought it wasn’t for me. And the distance, 26.2 miles, seemed too far for my legs to carry me. Yet, this past Sunday, I ran my first (and I’m saying my only) marathon.

What running a marathon can teach you about leadership

Image by Matt Biller

I ran the marathon for a reason. In areas without access to clean water 1 out of every 2 children die before the age of 5 because of water-related issues. Because of this, I chose to run with Team World Vision and bring clean water to these children. Currently, the West Michigan Team World Vision team raised over $400,000 in donations for clean water. That’s a lot of people’s lives changed! You can still make a difference by going HERE and donating.

So, that’s why I ran a marathon this year. Through this marathon experience, I was reminded of key leadership truths. We’re going to take a look at those leadership truths in the rest of this article.