The most important part of running a marathon isn’t necessarily one foot in front of the other, it’s the networking and team building that takes place during training runs.  A lot can happen in those training runs on your way to the finish line. There will be days with bad weather, hills that seem to rival Everest, and moments of doubt.  There will be mornings where you’d rather stay in bed, evenings where you’re just too tired, and weekends that seem made for the beach over the pavement.

We learn a lot about our fellow runners – and ourselves – with each step. On the sidelines, spectators cheer for us.  Volunteers offer water and energy gel. All of it helps to keep us going.

For what many think is a solitary sport, is really a community effort.

And while many see running 26.2 miles as a never-ending challenge, with a good training program and strong network of support it can be an exhilarating experience as each mile creates a new memory.

I’ve had several long term running partners who have trained with me for various events.  Together we’ve run marathons, powered through Spartan obstacle course races, and sprinted to the finish line of 5ks. Time is translated into miles measured by the high-tech on my wrist that documents the run. The most rewarding part of running is all of that time spent with each person.

When you spend hundreds of miles with one person, you learn a lot about them but you also learn more about yourself and soon the footsteps – left, right, left, right – fade into the background.  Your breathing becomes less labored and more natural as you push through a ten or fifteen mile run; while emotionally telling your running partner every little detail of how your lunch went flying out of your hands, in the middle of the cafeteria, on your second day of work.  Lucky for me, the fellow Cisconian who I spilled my food on felt more sympathy for me than for her salsa-covered slacks.

Unloading the mundane details of my life over 10 miles helps to pass the time quickly and I’ve come to value the early morning runs as a way to get my day started.

Racing the World Marathon Majors is a huge motivator for me, but it is not my biggest motivation. What really pushes me is a more personal reason.

On September 27, 2014 I was paired with a buddy through the Irun4 program.  Avalon Chambers, a beautiful, 5-year-old girl from Australia who has Cerebral Palsy would help motivate and encourage me to complete my first marathon. She continues to amaze me as she powers through her own physical training. Side by side, through social media, we’d both train for our own goals. My goal is running marathons and her goal is recovering from the numerous surgeries that she would go through that year.  When #iRun4Avalon it makes me want to leave everything I have out on the course and put in 150% every time I lace up my running shoes.

Being a runner at Cisco I’ve spent many lunch breaks exploring the area and I’ve found that there are some “perks” to our campus. The Raleigh, North Carolina office – Research Triangle Park (RTP) – has a wonderful greenway system with over 100 miles of paved trails to explore. One of these trails, the Kit Creek Loop, runs right through Cisco! The trail is an up, down, up, down that winds through each of the 12 buildings.  And let me stress, it is not for the faint of heart.  Running one loop at Kit Creek leaves me pretty sore the next day but it’s a perfect area to train in for my upcoming Chicago Marathon.

I love that Cisco offers the flexibility to train during the day either on the trails or in the state of the art gym.  After a long summer run, I love to refuel with a healthy smoothie at one of our Cafés.  Fueling with the right nutrients is key to being a good runner. It helps prevent injury and is really important as my training program incorporates more long runs.

Cisco’s global presence allows me to connect with other employees from all over the world, just as running the World Marathon Majors unites all runners as people. The most amazing thing about being connected as a global entity through both running and work is that territories and time differences don’t serve to separate us. Instead we’re united behind a common goal, we’re motivated to do our best and work past language barriers or time differences to reach the finish line and create further innovation.

Here at Cisco, we’re all racing towards the future.


Want to join us? We’re hiring!


Ajantha Ramachandran

Senior Business Analyst