• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Marathon Runners Have The Potential To Be Great Employees

With physical and mental health comes the confidence to take on any challenge

Photo Credit :


“Life is not a sprint but a marathon.” 

This adage seems to have taken on a new meaning for corporates today. Over the last few years, research has found that employees who maintain an active lifestyle perform better. Running has both personal and professional benefits, something which has persuaded many organizations to encourage their employees to take it up.  

Imparting valuable lessons for life  

Long Distance Running benefits a person both mentally and physically and also helps with de-stressing and strategizing. It helps individuals focus better, increase their perseverance, maintain good health and become more self-confident. 

In this age of high stress and constant connectivity, running or any endurance sport like biking, swimming a marathon can do wonders in keeping heart troubles at bay. In fact, running has been identified as the single most effective exercise that increases life expectancy. People who regularly run report an increase in their ability to take on challenges and a surge in confidence when they complete one.          

Professionally, the benefits of running are many. Even more so for the smartphone- and selfie-obsessed millennial workforce who find it difficult to get out of their virtual cocoons and interact with “real” people around them. Marathon training or any endurance event inculcates team spirit since it involves networking with people while training. Though outwardly it may appear to be an individual sport, runners perform best when they train in teams. 

Since collaboration is increasingly becoming fundamental to the success of any business, many corporates are actively pushing for endurance related initiatives in their organizations.  

Long distance running can teach employees time management and discipline. For instance, an ardent runner will always strive to improve his/her running performance just as a dedicated employee who respects timelines and works hard towards achieving success through timely delivery. Running long distance requires single-minded commitment, hard work and dedication, qualities that are essential to achieving success in both work and business. Endurance athletes need to be disciplined with their nutrition and sleep more important than the training itself.      

Igniting the entrepreneurial spirit 

A runner and an entrepreneur are similar in many ways since both must step out of their comfort zone to get ahead. Entrepreneurship is often compared with running a marathon since it requires a lot of patience and perseverance for one to succeed. Like a marathon runner, an entrepreneur also knows that stamina and endurance are key to get to the finishing line rather than speed. Similarly, an entrepreneur has to take complete responsibility for his/her business just as a runner does for the race. No one but the runner alone is responsible for reaching the finishing line.       

Running to succeed

Running a marathon requires commitment, discipline, training and a never give up spirit. Energy management is the key, being self-aware of your energy levels is essential during your training as most often burnouts are a big reason for injuries as you train for long distances.  These are qualities that could make employees the key drivers of any business to be self-aware and manage their energy.

In most cases, the personal and professional benefits merge to create well-rounded personalities. Encouraging employees to take up endurance sport like running regularly, also creates a better work-life balance – something that most organizations today are striving for. 

In most new-age organizations, the average age of the employees is around 28 years, all of whom give utmost importance to work-life balance.    

At Optum, we have designed a program called ‘LiveWell’ with a view to driving a holistic wellness agenda among employees. Till date, the program has managed to touch more than 5700+ lives through various interventions. Employees are encouraged to be mindful of their health and wellness and chose from a variety of endurance events organizations sponsors as well as helps train in a structured way. Employees are also encouraged to practice mindfulness through Meditation and Yoga. Nutrition forms the core of our program.

As part of its focus on employee health and wellness, Optum has been encouraging employees to participate in various events. 

I believe, running long distance a can be a fun-filled and life-changing experience. No runner can complete a race if they don’t enjoy the journey. Happiness is infectious and when we have fun we spread that happiness around us making not only the track but the workplace a happier and healthier one. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Kshitij Kashyap

The author is Vice President, Human Capital, Optum Global Solutions.

More From The Author >>

Top themes and market attention on: