It’s not everyday you have the opportunity to stand in front of a pioneer of a sport, someone who changed the world through their particular craft, a marathon runner who redefined the sport of marathon running all around the world. As I stood in the city of New York on a cold day in front of the great Grete Waitz and had a small conversation with her, we talked the usual small talk and talked about running and New York. The hardest part for me was realizing this was perhaps the last conversation I would ever have with her because she was sick and dying. We didn’t talk about it, but when I said bye and gave her a hug, the only honorable thing I could think of to say was THANK YOU. Thank you because this was the legend who transformed the world of running with her nine NYC Marathon victories, her five gold medals in the World Cross Country Championships and her silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She won the London marathon twice and was the first female to run under 2:25 for a marathon. Besides her accolades, what Grete will be forever remembered for is her contribution to marathon running but most importantly her contribution to Womens marathon running. She is a pioneer of a sport where female runners most times out populate men in a marathon, including the majors. She set the path and her legend lives each day Women achieve 26.2 This is how I will always remember Grete, A LEGEND.
Greatness and the opportunity to be a legend is not reserved for the chosen few, it’s not a god given gift that is predetermined by some innate quality to achieve legendary status, we all have the ability to be legends. Everyday we all wake up under the same sun and fall asleep under the same moon. We all have the ability to make choices and each day you are all presented with a myriad of opportunities to go out and do what you are passionate about and what you believe in. Think of all the great people you look up to in this world or people you think are great, they worked their ass off to get where they are. But most of all they are passionate about what they do and not only believe in what they do but most importantly believe in themselves. All these people during the road to their greatness were all willing to do whatever it took to get there. They were successful because they were willing to risk everything to get there. Chances are along the way they failed over and over again but nothing was going to stop them from achieving their dreams. They believed in themselves, do you believe in yourself?
What are you passionate about and absolutely love to do? What is holding you back? Risk? We have heard over and over how the most successful people risked everything to follow their dream. The people who are the best at what they do all took a risk for something that they were passionate about and never let anyone or anything get in the way from achieving their goals. Beethoven was told by his teachers he was a hopeless composer. John Grisham wrote his first novel and it was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses. Albert Einstein was a mediocre elementary school student and failed his first college entrance exam. Tommy Hilfiger sold jeans from the trunk of his car when no stores were interested in carrying his jeans. All the successful people in this world risked everything to do something they believed in and were passionate about. Would Michael Jordan make a great doctor? We will never know, but what we do know is his passion for basketball drove him to be the greatest basketball player in the history of the NBA. What is your passion that can help drive you to be the greatest?
Inside your heart there is a passion and the meaning of life is to find that passion and live it everyday and share your passion with everyone and the world. Your passion will drive you to be great, to create a legacy when you are long gone, to become legendary. I know for a fact that when Grete Waitz lined up on the start line of a marathon she was not afraid to fail. She believed in her talents and she believed in herself. The greatest part of Grete’s story is when she retired she dedicated her life to giving back to the community with her gifts and passion. You see, running is just a metaphor for life and Grete spoke constantly to school children all over New York encouraging them to push themselves and to never limit themselves. She also taught them the importance of nutrition and the benefits of running and health for children. Her legacy lives on today in the many children and adults who now run and enjoy the benefits of running because a legend helped them see how special they were.
You have a choice everyday to be great. You will have opportunities everyday given to you to follow your dream. You have a choice to be legendary, how does it get any better than that?
The question is how bad do you want it? Are you willing to risk everything you have to do something you believe in?
Believe in yourself. It’s all up to you.
MAKE A CHOICE AND BE LEGENDARY,
YOUR FRIEND, Ryan