Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The World's Most Extreme Marathon Training Plan: From 2300 Feet to 26.2 Miles in 26 Days

When Chilean miner Edison Pena hobbled across the finish line of the New York City Marathon with a time of 5 hours and 40 minutes, he did not only provide inspiration for fellow athletes out there—but for millions of people who go against the odds to pursue their passions.  When Pena was trapped with 32 other men in the Chilean mines, he decided to prove to himself that he wanted to live by jogging up and down in the dark tunnels, in preparation for a future marathon.  No more than a few weeks after being rescued from the mines, Pena found himself at the starting line of the New York City Marathon. But this incredible story is not just about Edison and his miracle run, but what he learned during a time of great fear--from 2300 feet under, to 26.2 miles above.

What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity
Entrepreneurs know that in order for a company to hit it big, they must prepare substantially and then meet the perfect business opportunity.  Edison Pena’s relentless training in the darkness of the mine proves that when preparation meets opportunity, amazing things can happen.  While trapped with the 32 other men, Pena decided to run in the darkness as a salvation – it was his way of proving how much he wanted to live.  “When I ran in the darkness,” he explained, “I was running for my life.  I wanted to show God that I wanted to live.”  A few weeks after “training” in the mine, Pena saw the perfect opportunity to prove himself – the New York City Marathon.  So today, entrepreneurs, ask yourself: are you doing what you want with the time that you have? 

Don’t Let Obstacles Get in Your Way
The number of obstacles that Pena faced while in running in the mine was unbelievable.  But unlike most people, Pena was ambitious enough to run through each of the obstacles that he faced.  Not only did Pena run in complete darkness throughout the cave, but he also ran with his steel-tipped electrician’s boots cut down to the ankle through a muddy, rocky 1,000-yard corridor.  In order to build up his strength, Pena dragged a large wooden pallet attached to a cord tied to his waist.  This is truly a case of “working with what you have.” 

Persisting Even When the Odds are against You
No person in their right mind would go from being trapped in a mine, and only 26 days later, decide to run in the New York Marathon.  Edison Pena, however, is not an ordinary person.  It takes extraordinary individuals to persist through the most difficult times, even when the odds are against them.  When half of new small businesses fail within the first five years, it’s obvious that entrepreneurs do not have statistics on their side.  But, if one persists through the difficult times, anything can happen.  Just ask Pena. 

Think Big
When Pena had to retreat to a medical tent during the marathon for help, he didn’t let this complication stop him from finishing.  Instead, Pena emerged with bags of ice tied to both of his knees and continued to think big.  He wanted to finish the race.  Pena said that it was that kind of determination and big thinking that made him push away the fear that the 33 men might never make it out.  He kept his faith and did “what could be done.”  With 69 days of being trapped in a mine behind him, there was nothing that this Chilean miner couldn’t accomplish.  “I struggled with myself, I struggled with my own pain, but I made it to the finish line.  I want to motivate people to also find the courage and strength to transcend their own pain,” he said.  Isn’t this the hope of most entrepreneurs? 

Entrepreneurs, I would like to encourage you to take a look at what Edison Pena has learned and apply it to the development of your new small businesses.  When there are obstacles in your way and the odds are against you, just keep thinking big—it’s up to you to see what happens when your preparation meets and unbelievable opportunity. 

Written by Allison Way.  Allison is a writer and videographer for Think Big Partners and bizperc, two of Kansas City's newest entrepreneurial resources.  To read more of Allison's work, visit the Kansas City Entrepreneurship Examiner.

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