Business and sports like distance running have a lot more in common with one another than you might realize at a glance. For one, both require quite a bit of preparation to lay groundwork for safe operation and achievable outcomes. Neither is for the faint of heart either, instead pulling from depths of endurance unknown to many. Obstacles can arise throughout the experience, but athletes and corporate leaders alike learn to take them in stride with an understanding that this is just one part of a long term bigger picture.
If there’s anyone who understands these parallels, it’s Michael Capiraso. As a strategic leader, Capiraso has dedicated his career helping corporations expand their brand footprint while overseeing organizational, marketing, communications, and product development initiatives. Brands including National Football League, Cole Haan, and Calvin Klein have all seen pivotal change under Capiraso’s direction.
But perhaps closest to his heart has been the work contributed to companies that align with his personal passion: running. As CEO for New York Road Runners, Capiraso organized the yearly New York City Marathon. Today, members of the running community can find Capiraso in his latest role as Advisor and Board Member for JoggingBuddy while he continues to train for his own athletic goals.
Lessons From Running for Michael Capiraso
Capiraso didn’t just orchestrate the New York City Marathon. He ran in it 28 consecutive times. To date, Capiraso has completed hundreds of races and dedicated himself to training several times a week with a blend of running and strength training exercises.
Running has its physical benefits, and Capiraso has been fortunate to remain healthy and mostly free of serious injury throughout his athletic career. But the benefits stretch beyond putting feet on pavement. “Don’t underestimate the effect physical activity can have on a healthy brain,” said Capiraso. “I find that going for a run is one of the things that keeps my mind healthy and helps me be more productive throughout the day.”
As a business leader, this clarity is crucial to bringing dynamic direction to the workplace. Running also helps teach adaptability. External conditions like the weather can change circumstances just the same as more internal issues like injury or aging. “As we continue to move along in our running careers, we need to do things differently,” said Capiraso. The same can be said for the business world. One of the hallmarks of Capiraso’s career is his willingness to take a step out from the status quo and explore how mixing things up can reinject energy into a brand. This is perhaps most notable in the campaigns he led for the NFL, the Super Bowl, and Calvin Klein’s ck1 and Eternity product lines.
The Next Stage in Capiraso’s Marathon Career
Most recently, Capiraso has helped brands embrace the role of technology to promote wellness and running. During his time at New York Road Runners, the company launched virtual races and a mobile app that included options for progress sharing, run tracking, and augmented reality features. Capiraso has been on a mission of incorporating new ways to help customers and communities increase engagement with one another. Commenting on the NYC Marathon app when it was released in 2017, Capiraso said, “We are excited to bring these new features and augmented reality to create an interactive experience, as well as stay at the forefront of utilizing technology in our industry.”
Capiraso has carried this mentality with him into his current role at JoggingBuddy. The app offers the running community a free service in over 130 countries to find a local running partner or group. The goal is to encourage wellness and activity with motivational support and the enjoyment of companionship.
“The moment I saw the JoggingBuddy platform I realized that this was an exciting project worth supporting,” explained Capiraso. “Tony and the team are driven and single minded about promoting jogging, running, and walking with a unique buddy support network that helps the global community get healthy and fit.” With personal interest in the sport, taking a role with JoggingBuddy was a natural fit for Capiraso.
The Buddy System: Encouraging Wellness at JoggingBuddy
JoggingBuddy was founded in 2009 out of a passion and belief in staying active to stay healthy. Recognizing that it can be difficult to stay regimented and compelled to keep exercising in the face of busy schedules and personal challenges, JoggingBuddy became a platform to help connect runners for mutual support and a decent dose of competitive spirit.
Capiraso has always felt that runners have typically been an accepting and welcoming group to be part of. This has made developing platforms and programs for them a rewarding experience for him. “If you take a pretty nice group of people and get them to do something they enjoy or are passionate about, you’ve got a pretty good culture to start with,” Capiraso shared. “I think the best thing you can do is keep providing them with more opportunities to engage, more opportunities to come together and share experiences.”
JoggingBuddy is poised for continued growth as the community works on rebounding from the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical activity as important for the health of both the body and mind have become more vital than ever before, and Capiraso is determined to keep helping runners connect and move forward together. His leadership and marketing background are practical assets to the JoggingBuddy brand. But in Capiraso, the app also finds a customer and athlete driven to keep evolving personally, professionally, and physically.
“If you can find people who have the skills to be part of your team and who have a real passion for what you do, then you have a really powerful combination,” said Capiraso. “If you can find good qualities in people with real passion, you’re going to over-perform in whatever area it is.” Whether running in a marathon or running a business, every step forward can count toward success.
About Michael Capiraso
With nearly 30 years of corporate leadership, Michael Capiraso is known for his leadership, strategic operations and marketing prowess. Capiraso’s experience spans rebranding campaigns for Cole Haan, iconic advertising for Calvin Klein, and reengagement with key demographics for the NFL. A lifelong athlete and runner, Capiraso has completed 28 consecutive NYC Marathons. As former CEO of New York Road Runners, he led strategic direction that nearly doubled the organization’s revenue while also expanding community programming and participation. He currently serves as Advisor and Board Member for JoggingBuddy.