Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thoughts on our mission statement

Our president, Russ Pillar, and I spent a lot of time in November and December working on our mission statement. Why? We felt it was important to have some guiding principles that we could filter all of our decisions through. A sort of moral compass for the event. You can’t just pull one of these out of thin air; a mission statement needs to reflect the soul of your brand. So what is our soul? Well, we spent a lot of time visiting with various constituent groups of the LA Marathon: Roadrunners, Official Charities, Students Run LA, Elite Runners, Legacy Runners, staff, volunteers, corporate partners, city government, etc.

We sat down with all of these people and more. It was interesting, and we tried to understand everyone’s point of view. And we thought about it a lot. We tossed ideas back and forth. It’s a fun exercise—you’re trying to distill an event with 23 years of history down to one sentence. Just a few words. But the statement isn’t only a reflection of where the event has been. It also needs to guide the future growth of the LA Marathon. So this process is both about identifying the existing DNA as well as charting the future course of this enterprise. Our deliberations kept coming back to these themes:

Transforming your life through running
Creating a first-rate runners experience and
Connecting the community.

We knew we were getting close, but we hadn’t nailed it down yet as a sentence. So we kept working on it. I’d swing by Russ’ house on the way home from work and we’d free-associate until we couldn’t think straight. But after two straight months of working on it, we constructed a sentence, a single sentence, which we feel accurately represents the LA Marathon:

“Harnessing the transformational power of sport to inspire athletes and connect communities.”


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