This month’s very special Withum 300 blog contributor is Withum Alum and friend of the firm Eric Wilson. While Eric is likely remembered from his starring role in the firm’s “Jump On It” 2013 State of the Firm video, many people may not realize that he’s actually the person who created Withum 300. On December 30, 2013, Eric sent out a firm-wide e-mail alerting everyone of his personal fitness goal for 2014: to run 300 miles within the year. Forty-one people joined him in his mission, with a little over half completing the 300 mile challenge. It is now two years later and the Withum 300 group has grown to over 200 participants. This month, Eric explains why he decided to put together such this group and his thoughts on what his vision has become.
My name is Eric Wilson and I am the person who first came up with the idea for Withum 300 (insert surprised gasp here). Let me first congratulate those who have already logged miles this year and especially those who are pushing themselves farther than they have in previous years, kudos lightning-legs.
I’m absolutely blown away by how much the program has grown and that in May alone the group logged over 5,000 miles! That is almost as much as Ivan Brown logs each year by himself*. In addition, the incorporation of the 50-cents-per-mile donation to the Staff Hardship Relief Fund is inspiring and a testament to how committed Withum is to their employees and community. It is really something special. Lastly, I’ve noticed there are now some awesome Withum 300 shirts that are circulating within the group; I am extremely jealous.
Why did I start Withum 300?
The main reason I started Withum 300 was to force Chris DeMayo to start running and to make his life more difficult. To my dismay, he took a liking to the group and has logged impressive miles ever since.
But I digress. The actual reason I started Withum 300 was to create a social commitment that instilled motivation to keep myself, and others, running. It started with a love for running and the need to set a goal for myself, run 300 miles this year. Why 300? It averaged to about 6 miles a week, which for me was a big challenge that fell within reason.
I actually started the first year with it being a personal goal but quickly found myself struggling against a motivational-shortfall. It was hard to stay motivated and consistent when the only person I was answering to was myself. I then turned to an idea that was included in the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg**. The idea was to make running a habit and build a community of support around it, to keep me honest and motivated. There was no better community of support I could think of than my passionate coworkers at Withum.
Thus began the Withum 300 journey. It started with me sending out a consolidated excel (typical accountant) to the participants each month with a running-total (pun intended). Now there are over 200+ runners, a fancy-shmancy blog, and a #withum300 handle! A special thanks to Matt Basilo and Jim Bourke who supported me and made my small idea into a BIG IDEA.
I think running is one of the best types of habits one can develop. It has a strong potential of becoming a “keystone habit”: a habit that can transform your everyday into a better, more productive day. More on keystone habits here via my blog. Also, running requires no equipment and can be done anywhere, at anytime (aka no excuses 🙂 ). Lastly, running has helped me experience the world and places in a completely different way. Each time you run, especially longer runs, use it as a means to adventure and check out new areas. Many times I would plot a new route on MapMyRun prior to checking out something new and exciting.
Get out there and keep running. Challenge fellow coworkers and push yourself to the next level. Make sure Chris DeMayo is on track for 300 this year; he wants your constant reminding. Thank you to everyone who helped me run my first 300-mile-year via the Withum 300. This group has meant the world to me, both as a motivator to my running and also giving me warm-fuzzy-feelings when I see all the amazing achievements resulting from the group. Go Withum 300!
*Although this is a poorly executed joke, it is not far from the truth. Ask Ivan how many miles he logged in previous years- it is mind boggling.
**I highly recommend this book if you have not read it yet.