09 May Setting goals and chasing them – chatting with Steve Luukkonen
Recently Steve Luukkonen, the head of Woodstock’s PE department, ran and completed the Boston marathon. It was not hard to miss the training and number of hours Steve put in, if you had been living on the hillside.
We thought of talking with him and getting him to share his experience.
How did running become a passion?
Being overweight as a kid drove that ambition to get active even more. The moment you get active and stay active you never want to go back to how things were. This was the single greatest motivation for me.
It all started in 11th grade at tennis practice. We would always do a warm up lap and the coach on this day, signed me up for a half marathon that was coming in a weeks’ time. This planted a seed in my mind while running the lap, which I couldn’t even finish, for running the half mile, which eventually turned into a goal to run for a full length marathon. One of my professors, Jim Nap, has been the biggest inspiration. His encouragement pushed me more into endurance running.
What was the point in life from where you took running seriously?
The biggest plus for me, was the very first 2 full marathons, which were the grandma marathon.
It was being able to meet the goal I had set for my second grandma marathon, that I realized I could set bigger goals. This is when I began thinking the Boston marathon was a goal to set.
How can Woodstock children chase their dreams and stay motivated?
For students it really works on an individual basis. Some of our students in Woodstock are already as motivated as I am. Though if you don’t have a passion or motivation, or you are lost, do not worry about it. I was extremely lucky enough to have figured out that I wanted to be a PE teacher and fitness was already a passion by then. My suggestion is it to keep trying and don’t keep yourself locked in a box, try everything.
What are 3 principles that help you stay focused in your pursuits?
Passion, heart & determination
For me it starts with a passion, which comes from the heart. Determination drives both of them. Do not give up through adversity or crumble under pressure, do not give up.
Any goal you set has to come from the heart and you won’t put in the effort without passion. Determination – if you set a goal that requires you to put in all your effort then there may be failures along the way, but it’s the determination that will keep you going and fighting.
What are your goals for the future?
A rematch of Boston marathon is definitely required. I need closure with the Boston marathon with the time that I am happy about. I will train again for and try for Boston marathon in 5 years’ time, 2021. Also in 5 years my daughter will be older and able to understand all this.
Long term goals are: in 10 years time to run from the northern tip to the southern tip of Minnesota, roughly about 662 miles, which I will try to do in 15 days. Also I would like to get into ultra marathons (50+ miles) while trying to run more marathons for practice and just a lot more running in the coming years.
Do you have any other final thoughts you would like to share with the Woodstock community?
I would like to express thanks for all the support they gave me. Without your support this experience wouldn’t have been possible.
Thanks Steve! We hope you remain an inspiration to the community and to our students in Woodstock.
Take a look at Steve Luukkonen’s devotion after completing the Boston marathon. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q_AGftzSzw&feature=youtu.be