Jesse Itzler has lots of titles.
Entrepreneur. Minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks. Author.
But when he comes to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, he hopes to be a motivator. He will be leading a run, then doing an inspirational talk and signing his book, “Living with a SEAL” during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon’s Night of Inspiration.
Q: You’ve done marathons, ultras and more. How did you start?
A: I started right after college with a modest goal of trying to run 2 miles in 18 minutes. I said to myself if I could run for 18 minutes straight, 9-minute pace, I would be a runner. I went from the couch to that goal in a month or so, so I set a new goal. That ultimately led to a first marathon and I just caught the bug.
Is there something about long-distance running that resonates?
It’s just pure growth. You learn so much about yourself doing the longer stuff. The training and the discipline, as I look back on my business journey, I think probably the greatest gift I gave myself was running. It gave me the discipline. It was about goal-setting. The days when it was raining or cold and I went out there, that translates into all the areas of my life.
The Memorial Marathon will have runners of all different abilities. What is your message to anyone who would run it?
It’s really more about the effort than the result. What I love about marathons, 99 percent of people … they circle on their calendar, they set a goal, they train up for it. The race is a reward for the journey you went through to get there. That’s important to remember.
A NIGHT OF INSPIRATION
• When: 6 p.m. Wednesday. Run with entrepreneur, author and runner Jesse Itzler followed by a talk from Itzler at 7 p.m.
• Where: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, 620 N. Harvey
Admission is free, but space is limited. Register at OKCMarathon.com.
Registration for the Memorial Marathon on April 29 is also open at OKCMarathon.com. Spots remain in all distances: marathon, half-marathon, marathon relay, 5K and kids marathon.