Monday Motivation: Who’s your hero?

deena kastor

Photo: “10 Best American Marathoners of All Time” Quote: Competitor Running

When we were little, we had heroes. Whatever we aspired to be as a child, we had someone who we looked to for example of how to become that. If you wanted to be an astronaut, a firefighter, a policeman, the President of the U.S., or an actress, there was someone who had inspired you to go that direction.

When you were little, you would have papered your walls with your heroes’ pictures and posters. You would have read and known every thing you could about who your heroes were and how they became the best in your young eyes so you could follow in their footsteps.

Do you still have heroes, or are you too old for that?

In the running world (and beyond), there are many successful athletes to look to for motivation and inspiration. But what makes someone a hero?

hero definition

Source: “Hero” Sept. 22, 2014

Someone who is an exemplar of hard work, dedication, achievement and strength even during times of challenging circumstances. A hero is humble in their success and dignified during times of loss. Heroes are timeless (*Roger Bannister). A hero is the personification of the greatest values of a people.

Modern day heroes…

“Characteristics of a modern day hero include compassion, strong work ethic, a giving nature, a defined set of morals, and a kind spirit.”(

deena kastor wins

Photo source: Let’ “Deena Kastor sets masters world record of 69:36 at Rock ‘n Roll Philly, Aberu Kebede wins in 68:39″ Sources cited:

…are the people who dedicate themselves to giving their best to their families, in their vocation, in their community, to fellow beings and to their planet. Heroes don’t take shortcuts, they don’t make excuses for themselves, and causally, they don’t fall short of their full potential.

No matter how old you get, never lose sight of your heroes. When you need motivation, inspiration, or direction, you need a hero to look to for example. Don’t seek to mimic them, but their process to achievement can be the spark to ignite your flame. I look to Deena Kastor (who is 4o and still setting records!) and Meb Keflezighi (winner of the Boston Marathon 2014!) as examples of humble, gracious runners who work hard, yet still balance family and training. Both of them are exemplars of dedication and perserverance: they both suffered at least one major running injury that prompted critics to discount them, and they both came back stronger because of their character. Discover your passion in life, and look to those who are excelling in that arena.

Don’t forget to look close to you as well! My mom is my hero. Day to day, as I grew up, her actions never seemed to be anything special. But it was the mundane tasks she performed without praise or reward that have snowballed into her achievements as an amazing mother, runner and community member. Everyday, she cooked healthy meals, helped me with homework, chauffeured, paid bills, and raised my brother and I alone while my dad was in Korea for 2 years and then Afghanistan for 6 months.

It never seemed like she was doing anything special, but I am what I am because of her.  When I was about 7 or 8, I remember my mom started running more seriously. I would wake up and go to the kitchen most days to find a note on the counter that read, “Gone for a run, be back soon. Love Mom.” She’s now run 15 marathons since 2002, when I was 9.

It is because of her that I am a runner. I can look to Deena and Meb and aspire to be like them, but I am like my mom.

A hero is whoever inspires you to be your best in a certain field. Gone are the days of heroes who conquered armies and slayed dragons, heroes today are those who put their head down and work hard out of love and dedication for what they do. Acclaim is never their primary motivator, and so they don’t lose track of their values or focus. Have one, or have many…but have a hero to inspire you and push you to excel as they have.

Happy Monday 🙂

portland marathon2

My mom, Bill Rodgers, and I at last year’s Portland Marathon expo. He’s a hero of both my mom and I! My mom’s qualified for the Boston Marathon 2015, her goal!



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