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Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars?

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Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 20:01
I don't have much community involvement experience nor volunteer experience after college. This is primarily because I have been moved twice by my company and I travel so much that I can't develop a routine that would enable me to be a reliable contributor to a cause.

When the few opportunities arise I have trained for and run marathons and I have spend a week on a few occasions roughing it in the Sierra Nevada's, the Tetons, the Canadian Shield et cetera. Have any of you written about these as your extracurriculars? I am passionate about these activities and have some great stories, but they don't exactly connect to my work experience.

Would these be worth mentioning in an application?

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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 21:16
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I'd try to look at this experience from different angles and try to find something unique.

I mean, many people run marathons. I live in a place where it's snowy for 5 months in a year, and I even made myself to train enough to finish an Ironman. Still, thousands of people accross the world do finish Ironman triathlons, including those who work long hours, have no sports participation experience, have three kids and work as CEOs of large businesses etc.

True, it's a great accomplishment for every individual - and you are within a rather scarce bunch of people if you compare it to 6 bn people around the world. But I guess, in a subset of business school applicants marathon itself doesn't distinguish you enough. So worth mentionning, but not a subject to make it a key topic, I guess.

Still, you could take a broader look. Do you have some good results? Did you lose half of your weight after deciding to train for your first one? Did you motivate lots of people to run? Did you volunteer at local events to promote running, and maybe have some evidence, incl. statistics, numbers etc. on people you actually helped to?

My personal opinion, of course.

Last edited by Kjar on 28 Jan 2013, 02:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 27 Jan 2013, 23:52
Agree with Kjar, try to look at it from a broader angle. Also try to connect the dots. Is there a particular reason why you like marathons? Can you trace it back to your childhood or some event in your life? Sometimes the 'why' behind your activity can make for a very compelling story, plus it brings out what you're passionate about and certain qualities that you mastered as a result of marathon training. Great stuff for essays.

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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 04:35
I run, although the longest distance I've done is a half marathon, and listed that in my activities section for both of the schools I applied to. I think showing that you are willing to take on a challenge and follow through with training and completion (a lot of people may run marathons, but it's still not an easy thing to do). I am never the fastest runner in the race, but I enjoy the challenge of training and participating and I think including them in my application lined up nicely with some of the things I had written in my essays.

I think backpacking in the mountains shows survival skills, willingness to confront challenges and the unknown, and an adventurous spirit. Translate this to your application and connect it to why you want to go to school (do you just hang out in the woods for a week or do you willingly venture off to see what very few other people are willing to see/experience because it's hard/dangerous?).
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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 07:35
I'm a marathoner and I definitely used it in my applications. It's on all my resumes for recruiting too. I've definitely had employers bring it up too.
Showing that you are dedicated to something, even if lots of other people have done it too, will always be viewed favorably. And there are not as many marathoners out there as people may think.
Your activities in and of themselves don't have to be ridiculously unique. None of mine were. However, your story for how you got into that activity, what you like about it, how it challenges you, why you stick with it are all your own and that's what makes it interesting.

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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 07:54
cheetarah1980 wrote:

Showing that you are dedicated to something, even if lots of other people have done it too, will always be viewed favorably.


Just to piggy back on this, depth is better than breadth. Training and running in multiple marathons is a lot different that having run one 1/2 marathon. Always good to show one or two things you're heavily involved in as opposed to being the person who has a laundry list of activities he or she has tried once.

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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 08:41
I would def put that in your app/resume. I'm a road cyclist (cat3 club races) and in both bschool and job interviews, I felt like it broke the ice once I started talking about it (training, components, racing etc)
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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 11:54
I wrote about similarly "not exactly changing the world" types of activities. My results are not in yet so I cannot recommend that approach but I did feel pretty good about the way I incorporated the stories and it felt like a pretty good strategy...at the time. Will try to remember to post update!
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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 28 Jan 2013, 15:48
MBAhoops wrote:
I wrote about similarly "not exactly changing the world" types of activities. My results are not in yet so I cannot recommend that approach but I did feel pretty good about the way I incorporated the stories and it felt like a pretty good strategy...at the time. Will try to remember to post update!



Yes, I would definitely like to hear about it. If you feel comfortable sharing your essay with me, I would be grateful to have the chance to read it.

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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 29 Jan 2013, 11:23
lahai1dj wrote:
MBAhoops wrote:
I wrote about similarly "not exactly changing the world" types of activities. My results are not in yet so I cannot recommend that approach but I did feel pretty good about the way I incorporated the stories and it felt like a pretty good strategy...at the time. Will try to remember to post update!



Yes, I would definitely like to hear about it. If you feel comfortable sharing your essay with me, I would be grateful to have the chance to read it.


feel free to ping me in a couple of months.
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Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2013, 11:48
Kjar was on the right track when he wrote: "Did you motivate lots of people to run? Did you volunteer at local events to promote running, and maybe have some evidence, incl. statistics, numbers etc. on people you actually helped to?"

Since you are claiming to schools that you possess both the skill and character to inspires others as a leader, it is imperative that you connect all aspects of your application to demonstrating how you have impacted a group of people - even through your extracurricular activities. So, if you enjoy running, you should channel that passion toward inspire others.

Connect your running to a charity. Start a running club. Do anything that connects your passion to inspiring and benefiting others.

Thank you & good luck,

Maxwell Roper
Outreach Director
USA Leadership Corps (USALC)
"Solving the strategic challenges of nonprofits and small businesses in need."
www usaLeadershipCorps org
Re: Marathon running and backpacking as extracurriculars?   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2013, 11:48
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