Running a Virtual Team Marathon
June is always a busy, busy month for me. Three of our four kids were born in June, my wife and I have our anniversary in June, and on several occasions, I’ve run a marathon in June.
I’m an avid runner as some of you know, and while I haven’t run a “real” marathon since 2017, I did just run a virtual marathon with the team here at Leadership Vision. The way it worked was that each one of us had to complete 26.2 miles over the course of a week. For some of us that was pretty easy. For others, that proved to be more challenging. But I think all of us got something different out of this team-building experience, both alone, and together.
Today on the podcast, we’re going to hear from each member of our team as we reflect on this experience. One of our team values is fun, so in addition to just being a fun experience for us to do, we also shared a memory together about something we all did but at different times, in different ways, at different paces, and in our own style.
So enjoy this episode and we hope you’ll be able to take something back to your own team, and find a way to use this, or another activity, to bring your team closer together.
Why Did We Do This?
To stay connected as a team and challenge ourselves, the Leadership Vision team decided to tackle a virtual marathon over a week. We each walked or ran 26.2 miles in those seven days for the “COVID-19 Real Heroes” virtual race. We all received medals and race bibs in the mail. From the training and preparation to the race and reflection afterward, we definitely bonded and felt accomplished.
How this evolved was telling for who we are as a team. I asked Linda “why” and she said there were four main reasons. First, we knew that everyone would step up to whatever challenge in front of them. Second, we always go big or go home. Linda thought we’d do a 5K or 10K at the most. When the team said a marathon, she was slower to agree, but ready to participate…and then so thankful we did! Third, when you’re cranking out miles during a pandemic, each step is a victory… mostly because you knew the rest of the team was tackling this challenge, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and maybe even spiritually. Fourth, I think we all felt a little closer to our teammates. It was a reminder that we’re all in this together.
I also asked Linda exactly how this came about. She said it wasn’t a no brainer team bonding event. It kind of evolved. Sort of like this:
- Carrie said: let’s do something to stay connected as a team.
- Brian said: I’m doing a virtual race. This is the website.
- Linda said: oh, let’s do a virtual race as a team.
- Carrie said: I’m interested but I only run for new shoes.
- Nathan said: a virtual race is a great idea. I’m in.
- Melissa said: I want to do a marathon over a week.
- Heather said. I will too. We should have shirts.
- Steph said: I can talk to Cesar [a friend who makes shirts].
- Carrie said: or masks.
- Linda said: I’ll make everyone masks.
- Steph said: I might die if I have to wear a mask
- Linda said: it’s only for the photos.
- Brian said: I’m doing mine this weekend.
- Linda said: no Brian, this has to happen the week of May 11, 2020.
- Steph said: I’m only doing a marathon if everyone else does.
- Linda gulps watching Heather and Melissa smile and breaks the news to Nathan.
What we Learned
Below are a few of the learning moments from our team. Listen to the full episode to hear their full statements.
The virtual marathon was really fun to have as a goal. I really liked having something else to be focused on during this time. It was also a really great way to feel more connected to the team, not being able to see each other and you know, getting a little bit outside of our normal work day kind of relationships. It was a really cool way to. You know, feel connected, feel bonded.Heather Kelly
I loved the fact that we all did this our own way. Some people completed it in two days, some people took the whole week. Part of our team ran, part of our team walked, and it didn’t matter. It just mattered that we were all doing it, and I loved that we could just show up in this space. However it felt right and still got credit for doing it.Carrie Jones
I loved the feeling of accomplishment, not only as an individual, but as a team. It’s kind of exciting and I think I might be ready to do it again and see if I can improve my time.Melissa Hiatt
It was the emotional and mental challenge that I knew would be more difficult. In this season, I’ve been carrying the emotion of family and other challenges, and basically it’s hard for me to run more than 30 minutes when I’m sad. And some of you know exactly what I mean. I’m happy to report that I overcame the emotional challenge because running helped me unload my heaviness.Linda Schubring
During this time when everything is locked down and no one’s traveling, there are no races to be run. So when the opportunity came to run a virtual marathon, it really struck a chord with me because it gave me the focus that I love having. It gave me a new challenge and it gave me this sense of, you know what? My team is watching. I don’t want to let them down.Brian Schubring
I think that the thing that stood out to me the most about doing this together was that we did something fun as a team. Fun is one of our values that leadership vision, and I don’t know about you, but it’s been pretty hard for me to find ways to have fun while in quarantine with a global pandemic. Going on. Doing this virtual marathon was a way to get my mind off of everything that was going on.Steph Wahlund
I’ve been pretty disconnected to everyone on the team during the month of May. For a variety of reason, I had to pull back a little from work and this was an awesome way to not only capture something I was already doing [running], but engage with my team in a new way.Nathan Freeburg
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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