When you think “Run a Marathon” – you likely don’t think “Cisco”. That’s fair. We’re a tech company. But did you know that Cisco (especially our campus at Cisco India) has a vibrant running community? It’s true – we do!

And not long after I had qualified for the prestigious and much-sought-after Boston Marathon, I was reminded of this. Rakesh, a colleague, reached out to ask if I might train him for his debut marathon! I agreed instantly. I was already training a few other Cisco runners at this time for various distances like the 5k and 10K, and I thought helping to train for a marathon distance (26.2 miles) would be an exceptional challenge.

Rakesh came as an inspired and motivated runner who had already completed multiple half marathons (13.1 miles). I had worked with him for a project in the past and I remembered him being thorough and diligent with his work. It was no wonder that he carried the same qualities into running as well.

We worked on building endurance, speed, strength and flexibility to help him run his first marathon. The training spanned across six months, but never did he lose motivation – neither did I.

When he turned up at the start line of the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2018 in Mumbai, the financial capital of India, the determination was quite evident in his demeanor. He was quietly self-assured and confident. A little more than 4 hours later, Rakesh crossed the finish line with a wide grin on his face. The joy of finishing, and finishing well, was unmistakable in his body language.

Here are 4 lessons I learnt from this experience:

 1.Be Self-Motivated: Every day, set out to excel at what you do and what you are passionate about. If you must learn new skills, or practice those that you already know – do it. It will be worth it in the long run.

2.Team Work Really Does Make the Dream Work: Sure, this may be a silly cliché – but clichés usually exist because they are true. Do not hesitate to reach out to your teammates for any help required to accomplish your tasks! After all, this is what being a team is about. We are here to help one another, learn from one another, and grow with each other.

3.Find Inspiration: We are all inspired in different ways, find yours. By working together and seeking motivation to continue your journey – you find new ways to be the best you can be.

4.Give Yourself Time to Grow: Growth (and success) doesn’t typically happen overnight. Give yourself ample time to improve and work on building and understanding your strengths. Plan to give yourself moments where you push yourself, learn, and reflect. This is where growth happens.

Seeing him cross the finish line that day, I felt inspired to continue working with fellow Cisco employees and runners – like Rakesh and I did – as a unified team. This experience has encouraged me, both in running and in my career at Cisco, to always find ways to work together.

 How can you help your fellow Cisconians grow?

And if you want to work with a great team, we’re hiring. Apply now.


Brijesh Gajera

Software Engineer

Access Switching