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At First, I Couldn't Even Run a Mile. Eventually, I Ran the NYC Marathon. That Showed Me How to Start Business. You have to start somewhere.

By Leigh Ann Cannady

This story appears in the July 2023 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Leigh Ann Cannady, founder and artistic director, Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts

I am not athletic. In high school, for example, I joined the soccer team for a year — and even when my team was losing 9-0, the coach still kept me on the bench.

But in 2010, I entered the lottery to run the New York City Marathon.

I'd never run a marathon. I'd never even run a 5K. So why did I do this? Because I needed a big goal. I was in a difficult stage of life, with young children and a failing marriage, and I wanted something to strive for. So on a whim, I submitted my information into the lottery — the process by which a small number of people are randomly selected to enter the marathon. Most people work for years to qualify. Me? Somehow, my name was drawn. I was in.

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