Starting Lines

From the October 2011 Outdoor Athlete

By: Jeff Herron

Thirteen years ago, on a cool Sunday morning Peggy Kelley (now Herron) came to me and asked for help. An automobile company had purchased advertising in her new magazine, Michigan Sports & Fitness, and they wanted the new magazine to create an ad and write the copy that would help the brand connect with local athletes. Peggy asked if I would write the ad copy.

How much experience did I have writing ad copy? Zero.

Peggy’s request was presented while I was still in bed, reading the New York Times. I was merely an observer of the new magazine, and the request for help was inspired by desperation more than by my ad copy resume (which, of course, was blank).

And so I stepped up to my magazine starting line, wrote some copy the client liked, and began a career in publishing. Thirteen years later that race is ongoing.

Those first few sentences were written with a goal: to connect with athletes locally. That’s still the goal. Michigan Sports & Fitness ended its run, Outdoor Athlete is still on the course, and what matters most to us as a magazine is where your starting lines are leading you.

It’s October, and we know that tens of thousands of you will step up to a marathon starting line this month. In Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago and throughout the region you’ll lace up and turn out 26.2, or 13.1, or a relay leg.

Maybe it will be your first distance race, or your 100th. Each starting line brings a new adventure, new fears, and the invitation for a new sense of accomplishment. By the end of the month there will be tens of thousands of new stories, new memories, and new inspiration for future triumphs.

Here is an invitation.

Each month we use this space in the magazine for something different, for a story inspired by sports but not really about sports. I’ve written my share of stories in this space, and now we’d like to invite yours. If you’ve been reading this space you know it’s almost never about speed and distance—at least not literally.

We know from meeting you and sharing stories over the last thirteen years that many of you have wonderful stories to tell. Here is your space to tell one. We welcome your words.

You are the inspiration for our publication. Much of what we have learned about the human condition and human potential we have learned from the readers of Michigan Sports & Fitness and Outdoor Athlete. Thank you for that.

Please lace up your shoes one more time. We hope to see you at our next starting line.

And thanks for reading.

By: Jeff Herron

From the October 2011 Outdoor Athlete

Jeff Herron is the Publisher of Outdoor Athlete. Sometimes he still writes copy in bed on a Sunday morning.

Read more of Jeff’s writing by here.


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