Well, we’re racing to the weekend. That’s certainly true in New York City, where some 40,000 will be taking the self-directed 26.2 mile tour during the marathon Sunday. Wonder if the course takes the runners anywhere near Wall Street?
What’s the connection?
The marathon — particularly for the non-professionals — strikes me as an opportunity to be rewarded for individual effort and determination. And the reward doesn’t come in big bucks. It comes in the satisfaction you get in accomplishing something that is important to you for a host of personal reasons. Nothing better than that.
And then there is Wall Street — which is the placeholder for the financial industry. Here it strikes me that the only reward is financial. And despite nearly leading the country into a depression two years ago, for the financial community it appears that the good times are back with bonuses and pay raises being handed out like race medallions. Sigh.
Here’s an excerpt from an article in the New York Times by Susanne Craig, “Wall Street Gets Its Groove Back“:
These are not boom times for financial firms. Trading is down and new regulations threaten to take a bite out of future profits. Some firms have been handing out pink slips. Morgan Stanley even posted a loss in its last quarter.
Yet Wall Street pay seems to defy gravity: Bonuses will be up this year, according to a study to be released on Thursday by a Wall Street compensation expert, Alan Johnson. The survey shows that overall compensation in financial services will rise 5 percent this year, with employees in some businesses like asset management getting increases of 15 percent.
“I did not expect compensation would come back the way it has,” Mr. Johnson said. “I underestimated the industry’s resiliency.”
And its greed — and lack of appreciation for what is happening in most other parts of the country. Tea party anyone?
Not many heroes on Wall Street. But you’ll find many on the other streets in New York Sunday, including Edison Pena.
Pena was one of those trapped in the mine in Chile, before being rescued on October 13. Apparently, while in the mine, he ran through the tunnels. Now he is going to run the marathon.
Here’s from the story by Liz Robbins, “Ready for New York’s Streets After Defying Death in Mine“:
Pena, 34, was the 12th miner of 33 rescued on the morning of Oct. 13, emerging into the klieg lights of international celebrity.
The New York Road Runners, which directs the marathon, immediately invited Peña to be its guest for the 41st running of the race.
“We said we want to celebrate this man,” said Mary Wittenberg, the president of the Road Runners. “He’s one of us.”
She never thought he would run.
“We were thinking V.I.P. guest, have a nice breakfast, sit inside a warm tent, maybe drive the course in a car,” Wittenberg said.
But Peña is a man who ran by the light of his miner lamp. He ran to overcome his fears of death, and once he did, running the streets of New York seemed less of a challenge.
“I wanted to show the world I can run it, and that, yes, we can,” he said. “When I ran in the darkness, I was running for life.”
Good luck to Pena and all the others who are running the marathon.
And let’s hope that he doesn’t have to navigate Wall Street.
That way one of the best won’t have to be near what represents the worst.