The 2008 Half Marathon Challenge

Last year, I ran the Country Music Half Marathon. About 65 of my Thomas Nelson colleagues ran with me. It was my first half marathon, and it was an awesome experience. I think that most of my colleagues would agree.

Running Shoes

Well, I want to do it again this year. Between our Nashville office and our Dallas office, I want to see 158 people run or walk the race. That would represent 25% of our workforce of 630. The Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled in Nashville for April 26. The Big-D Texas Marathon & Half Marathon is scheduled in Dallas for April 6.

Why run a half (or even full) marathon? Here are my five top reasons, gleaned from the testimonials of those who ran last year:

  1. It will empower you to achieve more than you think you can.

  2. You will enable you to feel better than you’ve likely ever felt in your life.

  3. It will make you more energetic and productive at work.

  4. It will help you appreciate the value of teamwork—especially when the going gets tough.

  5. You will be able to apply what you learn from running (or walking) to other areas of life.

If you need additional motivation, read the testimonials. They are hugely inspiring!

If you are a Thomas Nelson employee, regardless of your location, I have an offer you can’t refuse. First, like last year, go ahead and register for the race of your choice, whether Nashville or Dallas. Next, notify Suzanne Thompson if you plan to run the Nashville event or Lara Dulaney if you plan to run the Dallas event. I have asked them to serve as our official team leaders.

Here’s the best part. If you complete the half marathon or full marathon—even if you only walk—you will receive the following:

  • An official Team Thomas Nelson t-shirt. We will all wear these the day of the race.

  • Reimbursement for your registration fee.

  • A $100 VISA gift card.

  • Official public recognition at the first All Employee Meeting following the race.

Keep in mind, that you must notify the appropriate team leader to qualify for these benefits.

In addition, if your spouse or fiance participates, we will also give them a t-shirt and reimburse their registration fee. (You’ll have to share the gift card.) I want to do everything I can to encourage you to participate.

We are also working on a few other cool items, including a charity that we can officially support, a carb-heavy, team dinner the night before the race, and a variety of training walks/runs that we can do together. I will announce those here on my blog as we finalize the details.

For now, the important thing is to register and start training. You’ll save $15 by registering for the Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon before January 1.

I plan to share a few more tips on getting started in a subsequent blog post. Stay tuned.

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  • Mary E. DeMuth

    Step one: Hire me (I live in Dallas).

    Step two: I’ll run it!

    Congrats on running it last year, and good luck to all the Thomas Nelson employees!

  • Colleen Coble

    Can you run this year, Mike? How’s your Achilles tendon that you injured?

  • Beth

    That makes me want to work at Thomas Nelson! It sounds like a wonderful idea, and shows the kind of environment you try to create for your employees. I wish you lots of participants and much success!

  • Michael Hyatt


    My Achilles tendon seems to be fine. I have been running 4-5 miles at a time without any problems. I am planning to run the Nashville Half Marathon and considering also running the Dallas Half Marathon.

    Thanks for asking!


  • Bob Maier

    Inspiration and motivation are the two greatest attributes of leadership! Way to go!
    Bob Maier
    President & CEO
    Regents Health Resources
    Brentwood, TN

  • Dan Lynch

    I’m likely in. I’m doing my 2nd half marathon (last years Music City was my first) on January 12th in Orlando. The Disney half..felt like the right one for me to do next. The eace starts at Epcot, runs through the Magic Kingdom and ends inside Epcot. As long as I survive, I’m in for April! Thanks for pushing the team Mike! –Dan

  • Bob DeMoss

    Mike, How about opening up your challenge to include the past and present authors Thomas Nelson has published? I can’t speak for all authors, but the writing life tends to produce a lethargic communicator. Stimulating the endorphins in the mind of a writer through walking or running is sure to produce better writing and, in turn, better books. Seems like a win-win!

  • Bucky Rosenbaum

    Hey Mike:

    Great idea. Been thinking about doing the race myself. If your invitation also includes literary agents, I’d be honored to run with the TNP team.

    Bucky Rosenbaum
    Rosenbaum & Associates
    Literary Agency
    Brentwood, TN

  • Michael Hyatt

    Bob & Bucky,

    Sure, why not. As long as you run the Nashville or Dallas Marathon with us, we will offer you the same benefits.



  • Kevin Pace

    Mr Hyatt, Well done. A terrific challenge you set forth. My wife (though numerous physical challenges) experienced the beauty of crossing the finish line in honor of her 1st husband who died of cancer. I had the pleasure of sitting in the once-filled bleachers, virtually alone, witnessing miracle after miracle cross that line. They were not the “winners”, but they were the “champions.” I wrote a piece about it on our site if you have a chance, I promise it will bring tears to your eyes (as it did mine that day). I have enjoyed your writing. – Kevin Pace, Purveyor of Hope –

  • Bill

    A great way to ‘pass on’ the lifestyle of fitness! Congratulations on throwing this out to your organization! I’ll bet that after putting in the effort to get into half marathon shape, you’ll have changed the lives of a few of your team members.

    I’ll be interested in following your group through the upcoming months!

  • Jon

    Hey Mike,

    I’m writing this comment on behalf of my wife who has just started running and was very inspired by your latest series of posts.

    We live in Woodland Park, Colorado, and I met your daughter last year at Ransomed Heart.

    My wife Amy had already had her eyes on the Country Music Marathon and would like to take part in your half marathon challenge. But here’s the problem…we don’t work for Thomas Nelson, and neither one of us are agents although my wife wouldn’t mind being one of your authors. However, what we are (and I’d suggest this is just as valuable) is customers and raving fans of Thomas Nelson. I’m guessing you’d have a hard time finding someone whose given away more of your books.

    So how about it? We’ll fly or drive out to Tennessee for the marathon and you treat us like Thomas Nelson folks for the weekend (the snazzy t-shirt, registration reimbursement and the $100 gift card at the end of the race). And how about having dinner with us while we’re out there.

    Love your blog…thanks for all you do.


  • Michael Hyatt


    I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I must draw the line somewhere. If I opened this up to customers, it could get real expensive, real fast!



  • Jon Dale

    Mike, you may have misunderstood…I wasn’t asking you to do this for all your customers…just this one :-). I think we’re going to come out for the marathon anyway.

    I figure it never hurts to ask…I guess this just proves that the customer isn’t always right.

    Thanks again for all you do.

  • Terry Brown

    Jon – You may have missed some great customer wisdom from years ago. “It’s impossible for the customer to be always right..but they always have a need”
    Mike – Keep up your ‘encouragement blogs’ – This year for me makes 24 years working for Gary Smalley and I have been priviledged to watch your career since your first days at Word Publishing in Waco,Texas! You are an inspiration to all of us who read your musings!

  • Michael Hyatt


    Thanks for your encouragement. It always amazes me to find out who is reading my blog. Who knew?! Blessings to you, Gary, Norma, and the gang.


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