Learn how to cultivate optimism with Deena Kastor

Start your year off right by discussing "the power of positivity" with the Olympic marathon medallist and New York Times bestselling author.
By Rory Jiwani

Distance running phenomenon Deena Kastor can help you make a positive start to 2021.

For the best part of two decades, she was a fixture in high-level athletics events, starting with victory in the 10,000m at the 1997 Summer Universiade.

Kastor went on to hold American records at every distance from 5000m up to the marathon in which she won bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Few runners can boast her sustained excellence; she even set a Masters world record of 2:27:47 in finishing seventh at the 2015 Chicago Marathon aged 42 and still holds the American record of 2:19:36 set in winning the 2006 London Marathon.

She attributes much of her success to having a good attitude, something she documented in the New York Times bestseller 'Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way To Victory'.

Kastor has teamed up with the IOC and Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb to host an Online Experience where you can join her for a "unique discussion about the power of positivity".

"I continue to run and race, but find great joy in motivational speaking and connecting with others who want to explore the fitness of their greatest asset - their mind." - Deena Kastor

Airbnb Experience - Deena Kastor

The Online Olympic Experience

Kastor says that in all her time as a professional athlete, she has worked "as much on my mental fitness as I have my physical fitness".

One chapter in her book, entitled 'Losing', details how she struggled to come to terms with defeat in college after a long unbeaten spell at high school and how she learned to race without fear.

One famous incident from her career came at the World Cross Country Championships in Portugal, months ahead of her Olympic debut at Sydney 2000.

She was stung by a bee in her throat at the start, later blacked out, but still managed to finish 12th and help secure team bronze for the United States.

Speaking from her home in Mammoth Lakes, California, the three-time Olympian talks about her career including breaking a bone in her foot at Beijing 2008 and just failing to qualify for London 2012 having taken over 18 months out to have her first child.

Now 47, she still runs marathons including last October's virtual New York City Marathon despite her local Mammoth Lakes presenting a particularly tough test.

That distance of 42.2km takes a huge toll on a runner's mental and physical strength with negative thoughts almost impossible to avoid.

As well as telling anecdotal stories, Kastor is offering to work through strategies to help you reach your potential as well as exercises and "fun homework".

"You don't have to be an athlete to benefit from positive thinking. Cultivating a more optimistic perspective works for you no matter your profession or passion."

Deena Kastor wins the 2006 London Marathon in what is still the American record of 2:19:36

You can connect with the world's best athletes like never before. Sign up at Airbnb.com/experiences to interact directly with Deena, or some of your other favourite Olympic and Paralympic athletes.