The Power of Micro Communities
When times get tough, and you don’t think you can take another step forward, the reason you keep going is because someone believes in you. Maybe it is a teacher, or a coach, or a parent, or a relative, or a friend…whatever the case, one person can make the difference between going and quitting.
I am privileged to serve as a running guide for Master Sergeant Cedric King at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Cedric and I partnered up for the 2015 Boston Marathon – a run marked by brutal cold, driving rain, and a lot of let’s say “colorful” motivational statements. But I wasn’t going to give up on Cedric and he wasn’t going to give up on me. Our stamina, perseverance, and friendship were really put to the test!
The fact that Cedric ultimately completed the race after seven grueling hours was impressive, but no fluke. In many ways, he had begun preparing for challenges much larger than this one three years earlier, after a devastating 2012 wartime incident took both of his legs. Cedric is one of the most independent and driven people I’ve ever known, and has the will and resiliency to meet head on the challenges that life presented him.
That day at Boston, his strength was tested yet again. And in that moment, I was the one person Cedric needed, and Cedric was the one person I needed to make it through.
Together, we found a way forward, one step at a time.
That is a great example of the power of micro communities: close-knit groups of people with similar interests who provide support and guidance on route to tackling a goal – whether that goal is to run a marathon on prosthetic limbs as Cedric does, or study a musical instrument, or learn a new language.
The broader micro-community of Achilles International – which helps people with all types of disabilities participate in mainstream running events to promote personal achievement – gave Cedric the support he needed to embrace his recovery and rediscover his inner competitor. The smaller micro-community that Cedric and I formed, gave each other what we needed to get through that day!
We can all benefit from micro communities in our lives, to achieve goals we may otherwise believe are unattainable. I’ve seen, time and again, that when people rely on others – or allow themselves to be relied upon – the tide rises for all and everything is suddenly possible. Cedric sums up the experience best, “completing Ironman races, triathlons and marathons are not about receiving awards and medals. They’re to help train my endurance for life.”
Challenge yourself to join the race!
David M. Cordani
President and Chief Executive Officer
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Presented by Cigna
Cigna, a presenting sponsor of the Marine Corps Marathon Weekend, is a global health service company dedicated to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those the company serves. As a Military Friendly® Employer, Cigna encourages health and wellness and supports veterans nationwide through its offering of a National Veteran Support Line for veterans, their families, and caregivers. Visit the Cigna website for more information about Cigna's work in the veteran community.