As an avid runner himself, Peter Folch is a frequenter of marathons both as a participant and a bystander to help give encouragement. When Folch has competed in marathons, he claims he “loved to hear those words of encouragement” from volunteers at marathons.
So, during the Walt Disney Marathon in 2001, Folch was standing alongside the 22 mile line in the course and calling out encouragement to the 9,000 runners as they raced past him at the end of the 26.2 mile course to give back what he had received as a competitor. In this particular year, Folch saw a man walking who had a “really discouraged look on his face.” Folch went up to the man, inquiring if everything was alright and the man responded that things weren’t alright.
He told Folch he was “frustrated.” The race didn’t go as he had planned and he was contemplating just quitting right there. Folch, knowing the exhaustion that comes at mile 22 of a marathon, decided to give the man some words of encouragement. He told the racer, “To win is to finish. Winning is finishing this race, you just have four miles to go. I will see you at the finish line.” That was all it took for the man to pick up the pace and begin the last leg of his journey, saying “Thank you, I needed to hear that,” to Folch before taking off.
To win is to finish.
This is a story Folch tells to put the idea of winning in perspective for people. He wants people to be able to relate to the idea of a strenuous battle, of that moment when you’re just about to give up, so that he can put them in the right mindset to understand that winning is finishing.
Additionally, it is this story that helps drive Folch. He claims this “story and other experiences I’ve had in my life [have] fueled my desire and passion for the company that I started called Second Wind Finish Strong.” He sees the runner, trudging along in the final leg of a marathon, as a symbol for everybody out there who is struggling with a journey. Sometimes during that journey, those people just need to be told that it is going to be okay. They need to be told that they can finish their race and that they don’t have to finish as the fastest, the strongest or the smartest, but just that they need to finish. Finishing makes them a winner.
Roadblocks pop up in life and in marathons. Obstacles that may prevent people from reaching their full potential. Folch explains, “Many times things don’t go like we had planned to have them go.” It is in this moment that people want to give in to the struggle. They often want to just relieve the pressure, and because of this “sometimes the give-up-and-quit syndrome can be all too common out there.”
Yet Folch wants people to remember that giving up doesn’t have to be the answer. To fight through and endure builds tenacity. Tenacity is the strength people need when they are fighting long, hard battles. Yet it is these battles that often provide the most blessings in life, it is overcoming these obstacles to reach goals that provides the most satisfaction. “If we quit