Winners and Underdogs Fill Our Hearts

 Everyone Loves a Winner…
But It’s The Underdog Who Fills Our Hearts

By Mindy Solkin
Founder, Owner, & Head Coach of The Running Center


Pyramid for runnersIn a road race, when runners line up, there are people of all backgrounds, ethnicity, and religions. That’s because running has no barrier to entry. Yet, due to the fact that it is both a professional sport and a fitness endeavor, it is set apart from most sports. As an example, you can’t play in the Super Bowl unless you’re an NFL team who won your conference. But you can run in a footrace on the same course as the best runners in the world.

Nevertheless, there is a hierarchy which has more to do with innate talent, desire, and commitment, and most distinguishable, the pace per mile that is run. Runners who have all of these qualities may enter the field as a full-time job. Those who are flight of foot will rack in the trophies and the award money. They are a business of one, accidental entrepreneurs if you will, charting their own course.

These runners are serious about their racing and work very hard at improving their times. They generally are fast, local runners who earn age-group awards, but they don’t earn a living from the sport. They hold down jobs and need to carefully plan their training, which may include six days of running, plus strength training and other cross-training exercises.

They view running as a lifestyle and a great way to stay fit and healthy. They participate in races but are generally slower, partly due to genetics, and partly due to not having the desire to become a competitive runner. In the 1990’s they brought notoriety to the sport as a popular fitness activity, and encouraged others to join them.

Social and fun runners have many of the same traits as fitness runners but they add another dimension to the sport. They use running as a fitness tool, but also as a way to be social and have fun. In the past few years, new types of runs have emerged called experiential runs, such as color runs and mud runs. Fitness runners may participate in these specialty runs, but it would be rare to see an elite or competitive runner due to the high chance of injury.


Pyramid for business

The playing field within a career has a similar dynamic, the corporate ladder if you will. There is a ground floor and a top rung and many steps in between. Many of the same characteristics that is elicited by elite runners can be seen in the business world too, though most successful people are not accidental. They are deliberate and have a plan.

Like competitive runners, these workers are generally time-pressed to fit-in all that their lifestyle demands in the office and at home. With intentions to secure a higher position in the company, their ethics are steadfast. But like most “middles”, they don’t get paid as an executive and they don’t get cheers from their admins.

Starting in an administrative position should garner many thank-you’s from those above, same as those sideline cheers for fitness and fun runners. Although we get excited when we watch the leaders go by us in a race, it is the back-of-the-pack runners who get cheers and admiration in the late stages of a race or marathon. The rank and file are your support team and enable the people above them to shine. As she has stated many times during this Presidential campaign, Carly Fiorina started as an admin, and rose to the top. So embrace these underdogs because you never know when they might run past you and surge into the lead pack.

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