Richard Stiller is a 64 year old runner, who lives in the Santa Clara Valley of California. Richard, who is a human resources consultant, and who has a degree in history, has reinvented himself several times in his running career. Richard played soccer his first two years of college, but did not continue his last two years, and ended up gaining a significant amount of weight. When he completed college, Richard lost the excess weight through a strict diet, but found that he hated dieting. Richard decided to reinvent himself, and become a runner. Richard began running in the early 1970’s, when the running boom was just getting underway. After running for a couple years, he ran his first race, which was the Bay To Breakers. He finished the race in about 300th place, and ran 6:18 pace, but this did not fit Richard’s mental image of himself as a runner. His second reinvention was from a runner, into a serious, competitive runner. Richard went on to race very well, and was ranked as one of the top runners in northern California. Richard later found that the training regimen that had worked for him for many years, did not work for him in his forties. Reinvention number three, was becoming a successful master’s runner. Richard continues to be open to further reinvention, and even enjoys the process. His training as a human resource professional, and his love of history, has enabled him to be open to learning the lessons of history, and to not be tied to conventional wisdom.
Thanks to all those that have joined the 50,000 Athlete Challenge, and those who have volunteered to be foot soldiers. We’re making progress. This weekend I was climbing and camping with some friends, and got lots of encouragement. One thing that came up in a fireside chat was the definition of an athlete in the context of this project. Someone asked if a dancer can be considered an athlete. In the context of this project, my definition of an athlete is someone who has an activity that uses their body, has goal, has a plan that they execute, and holds themselves accountable. I’d be interested in others views on this topic.