To celebrate the NYC Marathon this week, today's interview is with the legendary Bill Rodgers, 4X winner of the NYC Marathon, 4X winner of the Boston Marathon, former American record holder, and so much more.
It’s hard to imagine what the sport of running would be like without Bill Rodgers.
Bill started running as a kid, the way most of us do– naturally, and just for fun.
He ran cross country in high school and was “recruited” to Wesleyan University by none other than Amby Burfoot.
While at Wesleyan, Bill's roommate was Jeff Galloway who, as Bill notes was not Jeff Galloway, at the time. He was just Jeff Galloway.
He also roomed with Burfoot the year that Burfoot won the Boston Marathon.
To me, this is like the Beatles, Stones and Dylan all living together in college, not realizing what they were creating.
Even Bill did not realize it at the time.
He didn't foresee that he would someday run in the Boston Marathon, let alone win it 4 times… win the NYC marathon 4 times… win an American record… run in the Olympics…. and continue racing into his seventies… and help lead the running boom that has become what it is today with 40,000 people lining up on Staten Island for the NYC Marathon.
In fact, after college, Bill quit running and took up smoking.
You'll hear why in our interview. And you'll also hear how Bill found his way back to the sport: with a little help from his friends.
And to me, that was my biggest takeaway from this interview.
Going into this interview, I was hoping that Bill would share with us his wisdom on winning.
Like, what did he learn in all of those victories? What did he find within himself that propelled him to the top?
Was it nutrition? A special training regimen? A special kind of grit? A mantra that he said to himself in the later miles of a race?
What was the secret?
Well, without giving too much away, the secret is to run with your friends.
It took me a while to pick up on this in the interview. But each time I prodded Bill for some special wisdom, he always answered with some variation on who he was running with.
Once he said it for the nth time, I finally realized it. And it resonated with me so strongly because that's what draws me to the sport too.
The camaraderie of an early morning run with your friends.
When it's freezing cold and 6 AM, you gotta get out there because you know they'll be there too.
When you're on the Verrazano Bridg with 40,000 other runners who you've never met before, from all over the world. And you're all about to write a special story together.
Being part of this amazing Charity Miles community and seeing the photos that you share every day in our Facebook group and on Instagram.
Hearing your stories.
That's what it's about for me. That's what fires me up!
So, if you're going to be on the Verrazano with me this weekend, take a look around. See the story on each person's face. Feel the energy, the spirit. You're part of something special.
If you're not running NYC this weekend, run or walk a few miles with us in spirit. Even better if you bring a friend. You too are part of this special community.
So thank you for being part of our community. I know I'll be feeling your energy on Sunday.
P.S. Here's a link to the Bill Rodgers Running Center.
And here's a link to buy Bill's book, Marathon Man, which I highly recommend.
As always, a big thanks to our partners at AfterShokz who make everything we do possible.
My favorite thing about my AfterShokz is how comfortable they are. Because they transmit sound via bone conduction, they don't go inside my ears. Which means they never fall out!
The open-ear design also enables me to hear what's going on around me. This allows me to stay connected to nature when I'm trail-running, and to stay safe when I'm running in the city. This is especially important when I'm running with my son, Max in his stroller.
Lastly, AfterShokz sponsors us. There are a lot of other things they could do with their marketing budget. But they're choosing to go the extra mile by supporting us. That's the type of company they are. In my book, that counts for a lot.
So, next time you're looking to buy headphones, make sure you give AfterShokz a look.