Magazine Feature / People

Marathons help alumnus face tough economic times

To Arnold Whitman (BA ’75), running a marathon and running a business are nearly one and the same.

“Especially during these difficult economic times, in both cases the name of the game is endurance,” says Whitman, CEO of Formation Capital, an equity investment and asset management company in the senior housing and care industry in Alpharetta, Ga. “Enduring the tough times lets you prosper in the good times. Much like the 18 to 20-mile point in a marathon, you must push through the difficult period to find ultimate success.”

Whitman ran both track and cross country in high school and captained both teams his senior year — and he ran a blistering 4-minute 37-second mile. He says he gave up running for a few years after his days at the University of Denver, but then picked it up again at age 35. “I decided to train for a marathon, something I wanted to accomplish in my life.” He has since completed 41 marathons.

“I do my best thinking while running. It cleans my conscience and it’s a great stress reliever. I also use it as a time for spiritual reflection,” he says.

A psychology major, Whitman says he originally wanted to work with kids but ended up working with the elderly. Regardless, he says the degree has helped him understand how people think and that his DU experience helped him understand the importance of good relationships.

“I loved the self-contained community that incubated relationships between total strangers and turned into lifelong friendships,” he says.

His advice to today’s DU students: “Embrace the freedom, the knowledge and the friendships you acquire. They’re assets you can utilize for the rest of your life. You’re going to need them because it’s getting tough out here.”

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