I will be doing a series from my experience(s) and reflection from Nike’s We Run Jozi. Subscribe by email or RSS to ensure you don’t miss a post in this series ;-)

Running a long distance race has always been one of those dreams I’ve had. After my experience I now have a better idea. I learned a lot of lessons while preparing for We Run Jozi. It is only appropriate that I share my experience(s) and reflections of the race. FYI: I did run the 10 kilometer race and complete it.

This was the longest single distance race I’ve ever run. I did not manage to clock the time I was hoping to and missed it by one minute and forty seconds. (At least according to Nike + App. I’m still waiting to get my official time). An experience I am very likely to do again in the future.

At some stage during the race my mind wandered (as it sometimes does) to an earlier post while preparing for the run. It was not helpful during the race but helped me process more lessons.

My Life and Leadership Reflections Nike's We Run Jozi - Part One (The Crowd)
the crowd is not necessarily a bad thing; however how you handle and respond to it can be your win or demise

The Crowd

As I’ve said this was my first experience running a 10km race. (I ran track in school and before this I run to help keep fit when I can’t get to the squash courts). Apparently there were about 20,000 people who registered We Run Jozi 10K.

I’m not yet sure how many people actually ran. It was great to be at the start line among so many friendly people. But it wasn’t that great when we started. It wasn’t so great because of the number of slow people in front that did not make it any easier to start making serious tracks.

There can be no race without the crowd. Thus the race is about distinguishing yourself from the crowd. After breaking out of the crowd I ran in another crowd that kept more or less my pace.

At some point there were some runners who stopped to take pictures of each other. They were having a blast and I was not. This is because I had a time to beat and they just happened to be in front of me.

You may be in one race but people run for different reasons. Not everyone running in the same race you’re in is running for the same reason. While we were all heading to the finish line we did not value everything the same.

For some the experience of being in a crowd of runners was enough. For others finishing the race, no matter how long it took, was the object. And for others, like me it was to finish the race in a certain time.



The aforementioned is important to note for both life and leadership. Those you lead may be headed to the finish line with you but valuing things differently. Some on your team are more concerned with doing things right no matter how long it takes. Others just want to finish, despite what the “product” (whatever your “product” or result is) looks like.

When leading people keep in mind that their values may not be same as the ones you would like to them to have. Also, while all of you may embrace the same values some place greater emphasis and respect on some of your values than others.

Not everyone will care about the same things with the same intensity. It is important for the leader to emphasize the importance of each value in its context.


A crowd can can be  give you attention you need and overwhelm you at the same time. It can be the source of great momentum and the reason for its decline. From a distance people could see great crowd we were when we ran.

Those running can share the frustration of having to find ways around people moving slower than they. The point? ‘Momentum drainers‘ will always be there despite the size of the crowd. As in the run, you may have to find ways around them.

You may have to confront them, for example, by asking them to make way so you can pass. Whatever it is be aware that momentum will not always sustain itself but must be nurtured.


Do not fight with people who do not share the same values as you. Find a way to push past them without tarnishing your character or integrity. You will end up with mud if you wrestle with pigs!

Trying to get even with people for being in your way detracts from your mission in life and steals energy that you could be using in reaching for your goals or dreams. Get around those in your way and stay focused on your goal. Forget the crowd and focus on your goals.

Your thoughts?

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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