Michael Capiraso is a seasoned executive from New York City, where he has made his mark as a forward-thinking leader with a relentless drive for achieving tangible results and a remarkable talent for assembling high-performing teams. Throughout his career, Michael has navigated various sectors, including entertainment, sports, consumer goods, and media, impacting each company he has worked with. His professional journey has seen him collaborate with esteemed organizations such as the NFL, MLB, Calvin Klein, and Cole Haan, where he has consistently showcased his distinctive skill set and driven progress within his sphere of influence.
Michael pursued his education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, earning a Bachelor of Science and an MBA. His outstanding professional achievements have garnered recognition in various forms, including the prestigious Profile in Excellence Award from the NYU Sports Business Society Awards and inclusion among the Top 100 Corporate Social Responsibility influencers by City & State New York. His passion for running translated into raising over $100,000 for Team for Kids through participating in the NYC Marathon and contributing to community health youth programming and events.
In his most recent role, Michael Capiraso became the CEO and President at New York Road Runners, the organization dedicated to promoting and organizing the world-renowned New York City Marathon. This event boasts an impressive 53,000 finishers and captivates millions of spectators in person and through global broadcasts while raising substantial funds for charitable causes. Michael Capiraso’s strategic experience saw the organization’s revenue soar to $100 million. His most significant accomplishments included doubling active participation to over 700,000, spearheading Virtual Racing in collaboration with Strava, and expanding community events and programming in support of healthy outcomes.
A pivotal factor in Michael Capiraso’s triumphant tenure at NYRR was his profound personal investment in the organization, driven by his unwavering passion and history as a dedicated runner. Beyond his professional pursuits, Michael Capiraso has always advocated for the merits of physical activity. A passionate runner who has impressively maintained a streak of participating in marathons for 31 consecutive years, Michael brings a wealth of experience in community service and support.
Michael recently joined the advisory board at Still I Run, a prominent national non-profit organization focusing on enhancing mental health. In this capacity, he will contribute to the organization’s mission to positively influence those struggling with mental health issues. Michael’s involvement with Still I Run is deeply personal, stemming from his experiences that resonate with the organization’s goals.
You can read his press release here to learn more about his work with Still I Run.
Our Interview with Michael Capiraso
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Michael Capiraso: The foundational importance of family, relationships, and physical & mental health. These things are the lifeblood of what keeps me happy and productive.
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Michael Capiraso: The experience of having tried. The experience and learning from failure provides a great opportunity for growth that is of such meaningful value in our lives. Some of my favorite quotes about failure from Michael Jordan are “Failure makes me work even harder” and “The key to success is failure.”
Question: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Michael Capiraso: Not taking enough risks. Early in our careers, we tend to be without the confidence to
take risks and with some fear of failure. But the opposite is what is most needed…take chances, put yourself out there, fail (or succeed), have courage, and you will learn and grow. In general, when individuals start their careers or work on projects, it’s common to encounter challenges and spend time on tasks that may not yield the desired results. Learning from these experiences and continuously improving processes are natural parts of professional development.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Michael Capiraso: Exercise. The physical and mental benefits provide significant strength to learn, perform, and grow at work and in life. Exercise is a tool that makes me more focused and creative, and provides a solid foundation for my life and work.
Question: What is your favorite hobby, and why?
Michael Capiraso: Running. It helps support many aspects of my life, from physical to mental health. I have been running for most of my adult life. It has led to me running a marathon a year for 31 consecutive years. My hobby also became part of my career when I became the CEO of New York Road Runners / the New York City Marathon.
As best said by the running pioneer and legend Ted Corbitt, “Long-distance runners have to be very strange people. You have to really want to do it. You don’t have to win or beat someone; you just have to get through the thing. That’s the sense of victory. The sense of self-worth.”
Question: What excites you the most about your industry right now?
- Technology Integration: The integration of technology in health and fitness is rapidly advancing. Wearable devices, fitness apps, and smart equipment are helping individuals monitor and improve their health and fitness levels more effectively. I am an active Strava user, and it provides me valuable information about my running workouts.
- Personalized Fitness: There’s a growing emphasis on personalized fitness experiences. This includes personalized workout plans, nutrition advice, and even genetic-based fitness recommendations. Technology plays a crucial role in tailoring health and fitness solutions to individual needs.
- Virtual and On-Demand Fitness: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual and on-demand fitness solutions. Many fitness classes, coaching sessions, and workouts are now accessible online, allowing people to exercise from the comfort of their homes.
- Mental Health Awareness: The recognition of the link between physical and mental health is growing. Many in the industry are incorporating mental health components into fitness programs, emphasizing the overall well-being of individuals. I am an advisor to Still I Run https://www.stillirun.org/, an impactful organization that promotes the benefits of running for mental health.
- Nutritional Science Advances: Ongoing research in nutritional science is leading to a better understanding of the relationship between diet and health. This knowledge influences dietary recommendations and helps individuals make informed choices about their nutrition.
Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Michael Capiraso: Misinformation: The abundance of information, often conflicting, on nutrition, fitness, and wellness can lead to confusion among consumers. Misleading claims, pseudoscience, and unrealistic promises can impact individuals’ ability to make informed and healthy choices.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Michael Capiraso: Physical movement. The simple act of moving your body helps to create so much good for all aspects of your life. Such as:
- Physical Health: Regular physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and bones, and better weight management. It can also contribute to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
- Mental Health: Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. It can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators.
- Stress Reduction: Physical movement can be an effective way to relieve stress. Engaging in exercise helps the body release tension and promotes relaxation. It also provides a healthy outlet for managing and coping with stressors.
- Improved Sleep: Regular physical activity can contribute to better sleep quality. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promotes a deeper, more restful sleep. However, avoiding vigorous exercise close to bedtime is essential, as it may have the opposite effect.
- Cognitive Benefits: Exercise is linked to improved cognitive function and may help prevent age-related decline in brain health. It can enhance memory, attention, and overall cognitive performance.
- Social Connection: Many physical activities, such as team sports or group fitness classes, provide opportunities for social interaction. Socializing through physical activities can contribute to a sense of community and support.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Michael Capiraso: Be positively relentless, by this, I mean – have high initiative, work hard, and be a positive influence; ask informed questions – learn, experience, and study what’s happening around you. Listen – when others talk, hear what they are saying, take it in and think about it, and be thoughtful in how you consider what you are hearing. Getting a seat at the table is not the result of any one thing but several factors you control and influence.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Michael Capiraso: “Courage is Calling” – Ryan Holiday It’s an inspiring call for more courage in our lives, the immense benefits it has provided many people in history, and how courage is more vital for us now than ever. Courage is essential for several reasons, and its significance extends across various aspects of life. Courage is a fundamental quality that empowers individuals to face challenges, make tough decisions, pursue opportunities, and live authentically. It plays a pivotal role in personal development, leadership, and the pursuit of positive change.