Today Alex Zanardi placed 4th out of 53 competitors in the hand cycle class of today’s New York Marathon. Not bad for a guy who not only didn’t train for the marathon, but who died several times on the way to the hospital after losing his legs six years ago.
I love and respect Zanardi because he’s such a racer. Run a marathon? No problem, let’s do it. Get back in the saddle and race the bejeezus out of touring cars (in a BMW, natch!)? No problem, let’s do it. Write some inspiring books about your life and times? No problem, let’s do it.
In a world where negative whining often poses as concrete action, it’s great to see someone who just gets on with it. I have the distinct pleasure of hanging out with some people who make a living carving amazing things out of aluminum, wood, steel, and plastic. Their job is really hard, because there is no bullshit factor due to the inherent tangibility of their medium; unlike a glossy PowerPoint deck, a milled piece of aluminum is either it, or is not. They have a saying they roll out when someone is paralyzed by the prospect of something new, something that might lead to failure, loss of status, or pain: Just F****** Do It. JFDI.
Zanardi is a JFDI kind of guy. In other words, a racer. Racers are innovators.