Intelsat marathon team

45 runners

Ages 29-65


One office found 45 people willing to train for and run a marathon with their co-workers. At most firms, finding enough people to join the company softball team is a challenge.

Intelsat, however, has no such problem with employee participation in its chosen sports activity, even though that event is a 26.2-mile race.

The global satellite communications provider is sending 45 runners from its Northwest Washington offices to the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. This is the third consecutive year Intelsat will have a team in the race.

"Forty [runners] was our goal, because this is the 40th anniversary of the company," Earl Main said. "Everybody doubted we could do it. We kept talking to people, putting pressure on each other, and finally we got over 40 people."

Main, a 54-year-old satellite engineer from Frederick who has been with the company for 15 years, came up with the idea for a Marine Corps Marathon team as a way to raise money for Children's Hospital. The team's goal is to raise $1,000 per runner. As of last week, they had $37,500, with more expected.

The team has 31 first-time marathoners, including Barney Zeitvogel, 45, a project manager from Silver Spring.

"Doing it with a team makes a huge difference," Zeitvogel said. "I really can't imagine going off and doing this by myself."

The team attracted a varied group. Thirty are Intelsat employees, including two top executives; the remainder are family members or former employees. The oldest runner is 65; the youngest is 29.

Main, who has run 30 marathons, tailored a training schedule to each person's abilities. Most members train together in the mornings before work and on weekends. According to Main, the team will have run 565 miles in training -- the equivalent of running from Washington to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

After each run, Web master Kate Levy, 59, of Bethesda, posts team members' comments on "The Daily Run" blog on the Intelsat Intranet site. The blog has developed such a following that Levy receives calls from non-team members if it isn't updated for a while. "It's great because people love to read this," said Levy, who is part of the team and running her first marathon. "People love nothing more than somebody else's aches and pains."

-- Kathy Orton

Some members of the Intelsat team from the Northwest Washington office gather. Most train together before work and on weekends.