What do you consider to be your single most important achievement and why People say that if you finish a marathon, you can finish any task in your life. I admit I did not quite understand that before but now, I can say I fully comprehend the reason behind the parallelism. I am proud to say that I have finished my first marathon – the 2006 New York Marathon no less.
This has been my dream since 2001. However, although I initially planned to run for the Arthur Andersen &. Co. global running team in 2001, the 9/11 tragedy prevented my family from coming to the US at that time. Hence, when we moved to New York in April 2005, I started my self-training for the next four months after researching on the regimen of training. I ran in all kinds of weather condition, adjusted my travel schedule to accommodate my training, and adhered to a healthy diet to prepare my body for the big day. Joining a marathon is not merely signing up for the race. It takes months of physical and mental preparation. This entails strict adherence to a schedule of training, eating the right foods and having a healthy lifestyle. It teaches a person to determine his goal, prepare for the obstacles, and reach for his dream.
The day of the New York Marathon came and the runners gathered at the starting line were all in high spirits. The first 10 miles of the marathon was relatively easy. However, after running 20 miles, I started to experience muscle cramps in my legs. In the last two miles, my mind was already blank and my body felt numb from sheer exhaustion but my feet kept going until the end.
Crossing the finish line in the New York Marathon gave me such a wonderful feeling of pride and accomplishment. It was an important achievement for me since I was the first in my family to have achieved such a feat. I feel proud that I was able to turn my dream into reality and that someday, I will be able to tell my kids about it. I hope that they will learn a lesson or two from my experience and be proud of their Dad.
For me, finishing a marathon shows a person’s self-discipline, determination to realize his vision, self-control, and of course, physical fitness. It did not matter much to me that I did not finish ahead of the pack. Finishing the race was a huge accomplishment in itself because it has been my dream for five years. It was an affirmation that if one really tries hard to achieve his dream, it can become a reality one day.
In much the same way, I have set my mind on getting an Executive MBA (EMBA) degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the first collegiate business school in America and the most competitive business school in the world. I feel confident that I can also successfully hurdle the challenges in the EMBA program at Wharton using the same strong determination, self-discipline and persistence that I had when I decided to run in the New York Marathon last year.
The experience that my first marathon taught me is an invaluable tool that will help me in all my future endeavors. I believe that the experience will definitely help me come closer to achieving Wharton’s motto, "Apply unparalleled intellectual resources to prepare business leaders who fuel the growth of industries and economies throughout the world," which could be my most important achievement in life someday.
Now I can say with confidence that it is true. If you finish a marathon, you can finish any task in your life. Earning an EMBA degree at Wharton would be like crossing the finish line of my first marathon.