Running at the Top of the World - Leadership Lessons From The Marathon Grand Slam

Dr. William Thomas began running when he was 42 years old, and ran his first marathon nine months later. Looking for a new goal, he set out to run The Marathon Grand Slam, which consists of running a marathon on all 7 continents and at the North Pole. In addition to races in the United States, his Grand Slam journey took him to Singapore, France, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and, ultimately, the North Pole.

Along the way he learned valuable lessons that helped him lead a healthy personal life, manage an exciting global career, and start his own company. Over the years he transitioned from being a military officer, to a university professor, to a consultant, and, finally, to a small-business owner. ON TOP OF THE WORLD tells the story of a multi-year journey that shows how lessons from our personal lives can contribute to starting and running a new business.

William shares his adventures so others can learn the specific insights that he picked up, but also to help others look through their own personal experiences to find professional lessons they can learn. His goal, though, is not just for people to get ideas for improving their business performance, but also to feel inspired to do something new, something they have thought about but have hesitated to try. Whether it is starting up their own company, trying a new hobby, or even running a marathon themselves, the message is a simple one: life is more fun when you explore new things.


The Marathon Grand Slam is one of the most exciting goals in the world of distance running. As of May 2017, only 100 people worldwide have completed it. The Grand Slam represents an opportunity to run not only in different countries but also in very different climates and terrains, going in William’s case from the streets of Singapore near the equator to a frozen glacier in Antarctica, before finally running on a 1-meter thick ice floe at the North Pole. The Grand Slam is, for many runners, a multi-year challenge that demands not only athletic skill but also the ability to balance extreme running with the rest of their day-to-day life.

About the speaker

Dr. William Thomas is the Founder and Chief Teaching Officer of Designing Leaders LLC, a leadership training and coaching firm based in Manila. A retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel, William taught as a professor at the US Air Force Academy, at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and as a Fulbright Scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, before taking a consulting job in Singapore and ultimately opening his own company. Having only started running at age 42, he is now one of a hundred people in the world who have completed The Marathon Grand Slam: a marathon on all 7 continents and at the North Pole. With 24 marathons under his belt, he is an Ambassador for the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and still runs with the New Balance Runners Club in Singapore when he is in town. His recent book, CROSS THE LINES: A Journey to Complete The Marathon Grand Slam, shares the lessons he learned from running that have been invaluable in starting his own business. You can learn more, and follow his continuing adventures, at http://www.facebook.com/DrWilliamThomas.

Thu Jul 20, 2017
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM SGT
Add to Calendar
Impact Hub Singapore @ Prinsep
Public FULL
Venue Address
128 Prinsep Street Singapore