You Never Forget Your First Time

This past weekend was my wife’s fourth running of the Nike Women’s Marathon. Her first marathon was the inaugural event. Since then she’s run that course all but twice — the first time because she it conflicted with some business travel, the second time because the race has become so popular, the bibs are handed out via lottery.

Still, my wife signs up to run that race each year. Even though Mile 6 threatens to kill her each time because of that [cuss word] hill, even though Mile 7 threatens to finish the job with it’s [cuss word] hill, she signs up for the race.

Why?  Well, because like Team in Training, Nike does a few things right to incentivize the runners.

Runners find their names on Nikes store front at Union Square

Runners find their names on Nike's store front at Union Square

First, Motivation.  Nike partners with Team in Training to support Leukemia and Lymphoma research.  This race is always replete with the purple running shirts.  So even if my wife isn’t running as a TNT member (she signs up for a few of their events, but finds it challenging to raise funds each time she runs), she is an alumnus, and thus part of the team.

Second, Reward. Nike hands out a Tiffany medal to all finishers.  After completing her first marathon, my wife probably walked another two miles trying to figure out where her medal was, only to discover that it had been given to her right at the finish line, in a nice little bag.  Of all the medals she’s received for a race, the Nike medal is the only one that she’s worn repeatedly.

Third, Recognition.  The Nike Store proudly displays the names of all participants in the race right on their storefront.  They also produce a commemorative race poster that displays the runners’ names.  Both of these displays recognize the athletes not only for their accomplishment, but also for their support of finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma — hearkening back to TNT’s original story.

So, yeah. My wife’s not fond of running.  Yet she keeps coming back for more.

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One thought on “You Never Forget Your First Time

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by melaclaro: The role of motivation, reward and recognition in continuing performance… @venderleys http://ow.ly/vVgP

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