Day 101: Bill Rodgers stopped to tie his shoe

Yesterday, my son’s father told us something I didn’t know, during a discussion about Bill Rodgers, who won both the Boston and New York City Marathons many times in the 1970s. We were talking about what an incredible runner he was, and I mentioned that I had seen a documentary about running where they described him as “perfectly built to run marathons.”

Then my son’s dad said this:

“Famously, during a Boston Marathon where he broke a record, he stopped during the race to tie his shoe.”

I immediately knew that was my blog post for today.

That is such a wonderful, compact little story.  And such a great image, too.  Bill Rodgers, in the middle of a race where he is (unaware) on pace to break the record, stopping calmly to tie his shoe.

And, there are so many ways to “read” that story.

What conclusions do you draw about it? What does that tell you about him, as a runner and as a person?

How do you make meaning of that?

Even among the people involved in that discussion yesterday, there were some different conclusions:

He was smart, because if he didn’t stop, he might have tripped.

Because he was so much better than anybody in the race, he could afford to do that.

And when I googled “Bill Rodgers stopping to tie his shoe” this morning, I noticed it being used to make different points (including The Paramount Importance of Shoe Lacing).

But this is how I immediately heard that story yesterday:

If you’re going to run the race, you need to stop and take care of yourself.

because that’s the lesson I need to be re-learning, right now.

As I’m writing this post this morning, I’m realizing this, too:  Bill Rodgers Stopping To Tie His Shoe could also be a perfect illustration of two other phrases I have found to be helpful (for myself and for other people):

#1.  You have all the time you need.

#2.  Lose your investment in the outcome.

What a great story.

So, thanks to Bill Rodgers, to my son’s dad, and to you, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Day 101: Bill Rodgers stopped to tie his shoe

  1. loracdog

    LOVE this so much I can’t even tell you. The airplane mask metaphor has lost some of its power for me lately, I confess, though I share it with patients all the time. But this story brings it forward in a new fresh way, and I’m struck by what resonates for me: it’s his confidence, not in winning but in the reality of that basic self care, and in the present moment. Anyway I hope you are feeling less stress and I love you! CG

  2. Pingback: Day 102: How to stop and tie your shoe | The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally

  3. When I can stop to tie my laces, that will be a great day. I’m often too invested in the outcome. Yes, Rogers was definitely taking care of himself that day. That’s what I aspire to…

  4. Why not stop right now?

  5. Phil Heath

    Check out the complete race synopsis. He did not not only stop to tie his shoes but also
    walked 4 times while taking water.

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