Running with the CEO

As part of a company wellness initiative, we had a 5K fun run/walk at work the other day. It started before the normal workday at 8am, and we headed over to the riverwalk at Wacker & State for a group picture before taking off. The route was an out-and-back along the riverwalk to the lake, then south on the Lakefront Trail to Jackson before turning around.

Our CEO is an avid runner, which is probably why the fun run/walk was organized in the first place. Anyway, he was dressed and running with us. Shortly after the start, I wound up running next to him and someone else, then the somoene else dropped back, and I figured it would be smart to seize probably the only opportunity I would have to talk to the CEO one-on-one, so I made it my goal to keep up with him for as long as possible.

Of course we started off talking about running – marathons and what other distances we run, winter running, running in New York (where he lives) compared to Chicago – and talked a little bit about work, specifically what I do and what’s going on in my department.


I was able to hang on with him for maybe a mile before I finally had to admit I couldn’t keep up – this was supposed to be a fun run after all, and not a true race. He took off and I slowed down, noticing that while the temps were cool, it was a bit humid. But running along the lake and river first thing in the morning? Not too shabby. Maybe I’ll get to work early and make this a habit. (Much like that, uh, run commute habit I wanted to start.)

I ended up finishing the 5K in around 27 minutes, and I think the CEO finished around maybe 22 minutes, meaning he was probably running close to my PR pace when we were together. (He seemed to be picking up the pace when I finally dropped back.) Of course my Garmin died so I don’t know the actual splits.

What interesting people have you run with? 

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10 Comments on “Running with the CEO”

  1. Wow! So cool that you got to run with the CEO! I read an article once about the impact that office gyms have on relationships. They say that it makes it easier to build a relationship with a high-level executive after seeing them sweating on the exercise machine next to you in their workout clothes. (Interestingly, I’ve only ever seen two very high-level execs at the office gym – in general, they must be too busy to work out during the day.)

  2. Very cool. Your running world and your career world intersected for a mile! I saw Abdi Abdirahman on the Lakefront Trail a couple times, and Rod Rod Blagojevich running in the neighborhood a few times, but I unfortunately never actually ran with them!

  3. My one brush with greatness was at a 10k a couple of years ago. It was a small race in Algonquin, an out and back on the Fox River Trail. I was having an excellent day and before the turnaround I could see that there weren’t any women ahead of me….and then I saw this woman blazing down the path at a ridiculous pace. Turns out it was Zola Budd, who ran the 84 and 88 Olympic marathon! She was so fast the timing guy put her results in the 5k because most women her age would have considered her 10k time to be ok!

  4. That is awesome that you were running PR pace with him AND having a conversation! And what a cool idea for the company and great chance to get to chat with him 🙂

    I hope you get some runs in in the am! Or try the run commute again 🙂

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