It’s often not about the time it takes to finish, or about winning. Most marathon runners participate as recreational athletes, testing their mental and physical strength as they run and walk 26.1 miles.
For Paul Anderson, MBA, CPA, School of Business and Management professor, it’s about the relationships he builds during those long miles. Anderson came to Azusa Pacific University in 2003, after working more than 30 years in the accounting industry. He has an extensive background in financial and accounting practices as a Certified Public Account. He received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s in Business Administration degree from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
“Not in my wildest dreams that this would have ever come true and I would be able to work at APU full time,” said Anderson. “It’s been a major blessing in my life, one of the true great blessings— top five easy.”
Besides his love for his students, teaching, and APU athletic events, Anderson coaches APU’s marathon training program. The program was started by Dave McIntire, a former professor, 12 years before Anderson came to APU. Anderson began assisting with the training and eventually became a coach.
“I started running marathons in 1984,” said Anderson. “I started running along the beach because I wasn’t that much of a runner. Some people think that’s a lot of marathons, but I have friends who have run more than 200 marathons.”
Anderson has completed 62 marathons as of February. When the school year begins, so does the marathon training. Each year, as many as 50 participants, including students, faculty, and staff, begin the program. They meet together every Saturday morning from September through the end of January, training for Huntington Beach’s Surf City Marathon in February.
“The students who complete the marathon are very dedicated,” said Anderson. “They worked hard training and pushing through a number of injuries. To do this on your own is very tough, but to have that relational group is what makes it work, especially when the miles are piling up and more of your Saturday is being used up running.”
For those students who still need 1 credit of Physical Education, consider signing up for Anderson’s marathon training group. For those who want to get involved with running, Anderson advises students, faculty and staff to join a running group, even if it’s not at APU.
“Take it a little bit at a time,” advises Anderson. “See if you truly enjoy it and if you do, stick with it. Running, especially with a group, has great camaraderie, but there are also a lot of good physical activities that you can do that can keep you young and active.”
With more than 500 marathons a year throughout the world, and thousands of participants per marathon, the marathon is a rapidly growing sport. This sport is not for the undisciplined. On average, training programs such as APU’s last a minimum of five or six months. Do you have what it takes to join Anderson and APU’s marathon team?