“I see tremendous commonalities between the attitudes and principles of competitive triathletes and those of great startup executives. They are bright, well-prepared for multiple events, can recover from disappointments and adversity, are quick to respond, and they are prepared to give it absolutely everything they’ve got.”
Consecutive Escapes from Alcatraz
Scott Cathcart's Story
Business, and especially entrepreneurship, is often described not a sprint, but as a long distance race. The perseverance, long-run vision, anticipation for what’s on the horizon, and ability to take ups and downs in stride, are essential components of success not only in startups, but also in all aspects of life. While there are many ways through which to teach oneself to have the mental strength to persevere in business, and in life, Scott Cathcart believes there is no better way to increase your professional endurance than through training for extreme endurance sports.
Scott Cathcart has been training for and racing in triathlon competitions for two decades. He is passionate about these races for more than just their relation to success in career and business, and appreciates the physical fitness and competition essential to them in and of themselves. As of 2015, for the past 19 years in a row Scott has competed in one of the most well-known and challenging triathlon courses in the world, the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.
The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is consistently regarded as one of the top triathlons in the United States, and the high ranking is well deserved. First of all, the initial leg of the race is from “The Rock,” the now-infamous and supposedly-inescapable island jail in the San Francisco Bay. Because of the immense popularity of the race, participants seek entry via lottery in the preceding September, and typically only one person in every ten applicants is lucky to be awarded a slot. The race begins with swimmers navigating the 1.5 mile crossing of the San Francisco Bay after jumping from a ferry at Alcatraz Island. The next leg of the race is an 18 mile bike course that goes out from the Marina Green, along the Great Highway, through Golden Gate Park and back to the Marina Green. The final leg is an 8 mile run from the Marina Green, up and over the hill at the Presidio Headlands, down to Baker Beach, and back. Only 2,000 participants are allowed entry to the race each year, and due to the difficulty and challenging technical nature of the event, first-time competitors are encouraged to attend a race clinic prior to the event.
Ultimately, the whole point of doing a triathlon — and of enhancing your capacity for endurance, perseverance, and ability to take things in stride — is to lead you to a place of happiness, health, and confidence, all of which cascade positive effects into other aspects of life. For Scott Cathcart, so far it’s been two decades of building these qualities both physically and personally through triathlons, and he looks forward to many more.