At Alameda Health System (AHS), where challenges are as diverse as the patients we serve, there lies a remarkable story of perseverance, resilience, and community spirit. Dr. Harris Goodman, a pathologist at AHS, not only excels in unraveling medical mysteries but also conquers the extraordinary world of ultramarathon running. His journey, marked by 23 completed 100-mile races and one daring 200-mile race, offers valuable insights that extend beyond the trails.

Tips from Dr. Goodman:

  1. Discover Your Unseen Potential: After his first marathon Dr. Goodman couldn’t imagine that he would go on to run 200 miles.  But his mantra now (borrowed from T.S. Elliott), “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go,” encourages us to push our limits and discover untapped reservoirs of resilience. In health care, as in ultramarathon running, embracing challenges is critical to providing the care our patients need.
  2. Enjoy the Journey, Not Just the Destination: Reflecting on his ultramarathon experiences, Dr. Goodman emphasizes the importance of relishing the journey. Unlike marathons, where time to finish and running fast are often the goals, ultramarathons are about finishing and embracing the experience.  Take time to stop, take pictures, and enjoy! Similarly, at AHS, it’s crucial to find joy in the day-to-day process, appreciating the growth and experiences encountered along the way. It’s not merely about reaching milestones but cherishing the entire professional voyage.
  3. Cultivate a Supportive Community: Drawing parallels between the camaraderie of ultramarathon runners and health care professionals, Dr. Goodman highlights the power of a supportive community. At AHS, collaboration, mutual support, and a shared commitment to exceptional patient care create a community that transcends the workplace. We are not merely colleagues but a united force working at caring, healing, teaching and serving all.
  4. Embrace Patience and Resilience: Dr. Goodman’s ultramarathon wisdom extends to the necessity of patience and resilience. Imagine running an entire marathon, only to have 2.5 more to go!  It’s at that point when Dr. Goodman turns to patience. In health care, every day, we have challenges, uncertainties, and demanding situations that require steadfast determination to persevere. Every setback is an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop the resilience needed to navigate the complexities of our profession.
  5. Celebrate Diversity and Variety: As a pathologist who cherishes variety in his work, Dr. Goodman encourages us to celebrate the diversity in our health care roles. Every week brings something new, and embracing this variety enhances our professional lives. Just as an ultramarathon presents new challenges, the ever-evolving landscape of health care offers opportunities for continuous learning and adaptation.

Dr. Harris Goodman’s journey from the laboratory to the ultramarathon trails is a testament to the strength within us all. His insights, distilled into practical tips, serve as a guide for embracing the ultramarathon spirit—discovering potential, enjoying the journey, fostering community, cultivating patience, and celebrating diversity.

Here’s to embodying the spirit of ultramarathon running at AHS, where every step, every challenge, and every colleague makes the journey extraordinary.