Michael Capiraso Talks Long Game As New York Marathon 2021 Approaches

Michael Capiraso
5 min readOct 7, 2021

Business and running share many more similarities than you’d imagine. In fact, Michael Capiraso, the former CEO of New York Road Runners (NYRR), believes that business and distance running are two sides of the same coin.

In business, someone must prepare carefully when laying the groundwork for a safe yet productive operation. The same concept applies to distance running, and you must possess mental toughness whether you are an athlete or entrepreneur.

Capiraso advises that while neither is for the faint of heart, both business and distance running test a person’s endurance to overcome challenges. Different obstacles happen throughout the experience, but athletes and business leaders know how to solve them while focusing on the bigger picture.

There’s arguably nobody more qualified than Capiraso to understand the parallels between business and distance running. His decades-long career has helped major brands such as Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, New York Road Runners, and the National Football League (NFL) to expand their brand presence.

At the same time, his strategic leadership positively contributed to pivotal change for these organizations — all while leading communications, marketing, organizational, and product development initiatives.

While Michael Capiraso takes pride in his corporate leadership achievements, he finds a bigger sense of motivation from the work contributed to companies that align with his passion for running.

Capiraso organized the annual New York City (NYC) Marathon during his time as CEO of NYYR. His latest role involves being an advisor and board member for JoggingBuddy while remaining committed to his own athletic goals.

Michael Capiraso’s Advice for Distance Runners

Distance runners should remember that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the benefits of distance running. Capiraso believes that the advantages of running extend beyond putting one’s feet on the pavement.

“Don’t underestimate the effect physical activity can have on a healthy brain,” said Capiraso. “I find that going for a run is one of the things that keeps my mind healthy and helps me be more productive throughout the day.”

This routine allowed him to achieve the clear mind that’s crucial to bringing dynamic direction to the workplace. Business leaders can learn adaptability when they engage in physical exercise.

For example, distance runners adapt to environmental changes (such as inclement weather) and other external conditions. These changes aren’t limited to the outside world, as athletes need to adjust accordingly to internal issues such as aging or injury.

Michael Capiraso acknowledges that distance running can be a challenge, but he believes the benefits far outweigh the work that you put into it. The challenges didn’t stop him from orchestrating the NYC Marathon. In fact, he even participated in the annual event for 28 consecutive times.

Capiraso’s experience in running has included hundreds of races — complemented by training several times a week with a blend of running and strength-training exercises.

“As we continue to move along in our running careers, we need to do things differently,” said Michael Capiraso. He also believes that adaptability is one important characteristic among competent business leaders. Capiraso became known in the business world because of his willingness to take a step out from the status quo.

He was also fond of exploring ideas about how to mix things up and reinject energy into a brand. His creative and innovative work on campaigns, including Calvin Klein’s ck1 and Eternity product lines, the NFL and the Super Bowl, are among the best examples.

What Is Next for Capiraso’s Marathon Career?

Capiraso raised the bar in health and wellness by helping brands with integrating technology. He became instrumental in launching virtual races during his time at NYRR. Capiraso also oversaw the launch of a mobile app with augmented reality, progress-sharing, and run-tracking features.

In 2017, Capiraso commented on the launch of the NYC Marathon app: “We are excited to bring these new features and augmented reality to create an interactive experience, as well as stay at the forefront of utilizing technology in our industry.”

Since then, he has pursued new ways to help customers and communities increase engagement with one another. Capiraso brought this mindset with him into his current role at JoggingBuddy, a free platform that connects runners in over 130 countries. The app ultimately encourages wellness and interaction among runners, enabling them to draw inspiration and support from one another.

What Is JoggingBuddy?

JoggingBuddy began in 2009 to help runners solve the problem of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle while juggling busy schedules and personal challenges. It can be challenging for runners to stick to a schedule and stay motivated all by yourself. The platform provides runners with mutual support and a decent dose of competitive spirit.

According to Michael Capiraso, runners are an accepting and welcoming group for people who seek to socialize through exercise.

“If you take a pretty nice group of people and get them to do something they enjoy or are passionate about, you’ve got a pretty good culture to start with,” Capiraso shared. He says that one of the best ways you can accomplish this is to continually give runners more opportunities to connect and share experiences.

JoggingBuddy emerged as a relevant app during the COVID-19 crisis, but it will continue to grow post-pandemic. As the community works on rebounding from isolation, people realize that physical activity is more important than ever — not only for one’s body but also for the mind.

This trend motivates Capiraso to continue helping runners to connect and move forward together. He also aims to complement his determination for promoting the JoggingBuddy brand with his leadership and marketing background. “If you can find people who have the skills to be part of your team and who have a real passion for what you do, then you have a really powerful combination,” he said.

He wants customers to achieve their wellness goals and remain driven in improving their personal and professional lives. Whether it’s an NYC marathon or running a business, each step forward brings us closer to success.

About Michael Capiraso

Michael Capiraso possesses nearly 30 years of corporate leadership and is known for his strategic operations and marketing expertise. Capiraso’s notable career achievements include iconic ads for Calvin Klein, rebranding campaigns for Cole Haan, and renewing engagement with the NFL’s key demographics.

His strategic leadership as former CEO of New York Road Runners led the group to achieve an almost 100% increase in revenue. He managed to do this while also expanding community programming and participation.

As an avid athlete and runner, Capiraso successfully finished the NYC Marathon for 28 consecutive years. He is currently involved with JoggingBuddy as an advisor and a board member.



Michael Capiraso

Michael Capariso is a visionary leader who serves on the board of JoggingBuddy and has shaped the business and brand strategies of the NFL, MLB, NYRR and more.