By Rick Garey, technology program manager, Sprint

July 19, 2017

My running career has taken my life in so many unexpected directions and to amazing places, and yet it still continues to surprise me. If you told me four months ago that I’d have the opportunity to coach my CEO, let alone run with him, I might have chuckled. But on a chilly April Fool’s day, I met with Marcelo and a few dozen other runners in the Sprint parking lot and was promptly nominated to coach what would become a tremendously motivated race team.

Marcelo explained that he wanted to do something fun and challenging outside of work – train for a half marathon! I’m always up for a half marathon, especially one with my CEO, so I jumped at the chance to join the team, as did many of my Sprint colleagues. We quickly formed the 2017 Sprint Half Marathon Training Team.

On July 23 I’ll join my Sprint teammates to participate in the sold-out San Francisco 1st Half Marathon. It’s an exceptionally hilly, yet scenic, 13.1-mile race through San Francisco’s parks, Bay Area and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Our group includes friends from Samsung, a few spouses, and a handful of friends – bringing our total number of Sprint runners to about 130 – one of the largest teams participating in the half marathon. We go big at Sprint!

As coach, I’ve helped guide the team by sending out regular recommendations on mileage goals and workouts and then organizing and participating in many group runs around Overland Park. We spent the last three months cross-training in the gym, creating and renewing friendships, participating in 4- to 6-mile runs a couple of days during the week, and taking long runs on the weekends. In the Kansas City area, many of us competed in 5K and 10K races to build motivation and team camaraderie and to gain race experience.

I offered many of the runners tailored advice – even Marcelo. He’s a very enthusiastic runner and has the mentality of a competitive athlete. Marcelo knows how to push through discomfort, even pain, and focus on his race goals. He is extremely motivated and demonstrates that a strong mind can overcome most obstacles. You can’t teach what he has already – his perseverance is innate and contagious. 

For the San Francisco half marathon, the Sprint team is in this together – just like we are in business. Just as we conduct ourselves every day in a sales organization, we have some goals to achieve.

I enjoyed hearing from individual runners about their goals and how they were growing each week. I received emails from teammates noting personal records and new distance achievements, including Marcelo running his fastest 5K time!

For a coach, there’s no greater reward than seeing each runner achieve what they set out to accomplish – and then wanting to share that success with others.

Training for this half marathon and seeing the determination and teamwork displayed by my fellow Sprint partners has really made me appreciate being a part of the Sprint team. I’m looking forward to Sunday, and I anticipate a lot of high fives, happy faces, and personal records to be broken!

P.S. To make the race even more meaningful, Team Sprint is also running for a cause. Collectively, we committed to raising over $100,000 for Sprint’s 1Million Project to connect low-income high school students across the country and help close the ‘Homework Gap.’