New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures during a news conference Thursday at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. Governor Christie has fired a top aide who arranged traffic jams to punish a mayor who didn't endorse Christie for re-election. Mel Evans/AP
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gestures during a news conference Thursday at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J.  (Mel Evans/AP)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie staged a marathon press conference Thursday as he attempted to stem the political tide rising from Bridgegate, the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal ostensibly engineered by close Christie aides last September as payback against Ft. Lee, N.J.’s democratic mayor Mike Sokolich for his refusal to endorse Christie’s reelection bid.

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

Telling a packed Statehouse audience in Trenton that he had no knowledge of the incident, Christie apologized then said he was “embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team…This is not the tone that I’ve set over the last four years in this building.”

While it may not be the tone he thought he was setting, all evidence suggests the opposite, because look at the results.  Would the Big Gov’s closest staff have undertaken any such action without what they considered to be, at the minimum, the implicit approval of their boss?

What does this have to do with running?  Well, nothing specifically, but everything in terms of tone and belief.  Governor Gastric Band’s staff believed in the in-your-face style of leadership their boss practiced, then simply acted in accordance with that belief.

In his book Elite Minds, Creating the Competitive Advantage Dr. Stan Beecham discusses how the belief in an outcome is predictive of same.  As he writes, “your brain is the software; your body the hardware… the mind is in control of the body”. Life, in that sense, is a series of self-fulfilling prophecies, both positive and negative. If you don’t think you can do something, you are right 100% of the time.

This is why the completion of a marathon for many people is the athletic achievement of a lifetime.  Before taking on the challenge most people’s belief is certain, “I can’t do that.”  But after months of preparation and the fulfillment of their goal, they look back on the entire enterprise and realize: “I didn’t think I could do it.  Then I did do it.  What else don’t I think I can do?”

Garret Heath of USA wins the Mens 4km race during the Bupa Great Edinburgh X Country in Holyrood Park on January 11, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Garret Heath of USA wins the Mens 4km race at the Bupa Great Edinburgh X Country in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Today in Edinburgh, Scotland we saw the USA’s Garrett Heath out-run World and Olympic 1500 meter champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya at the Bupa Great Edinburgh X Country International Challenge.  Nobody would likely have predicted victory for the Winona, Minnesota native in the 4km race, but with solid training and belief on his side the Stanford grad simply executed on the final hill to secure the win, irrespective of the name quality of the competition. Defending champ Kiprop finished third, while 11-time World Champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia came home in fifth, perhaps flattened somewhat by preparation for his marathon debut in Paris in April.

Notwithstanding, the culture of success, like any other strength, is developed until a particular outcome is but an extension of the belief.  We’ve seen this so often from the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners over the last generation that it has become all but axiomatic that it is built into the fabric of their society.  Slowly, however, we are seeing its resurrection in American runners.    No fear. Yes I can.

2013 U.S. Cross Country champion (and fellow Stanford grad) Chris Derrick followed Heath’s win in the 4K with a dominating win the men’s 8K event in Edinburgh.  One tends to believe that even better days lie ahead for this new generation of Americans – though perhaps not for Governor Christie.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.