SPOTLIGHT ON…Stephen Bell—Running Down His Dreams

Finishing one marathon in a lifetime is quite an achievement for any person. Running seven marathons is even more momentous. Add in a battle against Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes difficulty in breathing due to mucus build-up in the lungs and excessive loss of salt and sweat, and you are literally pushing the limits of what is possible.

Welcome to Stephen Bell’s world.

On July 20, Boomer’s Run to Breathe 10k benefitting Cystic Fibrosis research will take place in Central Park. While not as long as a marathon at 6.2 miles, the race still means a lot to Bell, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 3 months old. This year, several Havas Life Metro employees will be participating, to show their support for Bell and his courageous “can-do” mentality.

I recently sat down with Bell, one of HLM’s favorite dry-humored, marathon-running Account Supervisors, to see what he’s been up to. We discussed his love of running, teleportation, chicken fries—and yep, you guessed it, his commitment to pushing the limits while living with cystic fibrosis.

HLM-Hi Stephen

SB-Hi

So what accounts are you currently working on?

Apoquel and San-Jak 2.

And what’s your favorite thing about working at Metro?

Definitely, the people.

What have you learned in your personal life that makes you a better Metro employee?

Patience and to have a sense of humor.  And to not worry about things that are out of your control. But mostly, to just have a good sense of humor.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?

I love to run, sleep, and hang out with my girlfriend at the beach.

What’s the proudest thing you’ve done in your life?

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon in San Diego. Then breaking 4 hours in my second, which was New York [City].  

Why marathons?

Because they test your limits physically, mentally and emotionally--I want to see how far I can push myself.

How many marathons have you completed in your lifetime?

Seven.

Which marathon was the most special to you?

Every single one was different and special in its own way.

What inspires you?

People who push beyond known limits. People who don’t take “no” for an answer.

What’s your favorite place or thing to do in New York City?

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge or a nighttime run in Central Park.

What’s your favorite music?

I like country music right now. They tell bad stories and it makes me smile.

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?

Teleportation. So I can go anywhere whenever I want and see the world.

What’s your favorite ad campaign?

My favorite campaign ever is the VISA GO campaign for the Olympics. 

Currently, I love the E-trade babies’ campaign, but the Burger King ‘Chicken Fry’ commercial is my favorite by far.

Are there any particular brands that you love?

Brooks. I can’t live without Brooks.

What’s your favorite thing about the new office space?

Being able to annoy people around me. But really, it’s that communication is so open.

What’s the most epic thing you’ve done lately?

I’ve saved puppies from a burning building.

Really?

No. But I was recently featured in the Dick’s Sporting Goods “Why I Run” campaign.

So you’re somewhat of an internet celebrity?

I prefer the term, ‘YouTube sensation’. My video has over 135,000 hits.

What was that experience like?

At the end of the day, it just feels cool that people are interested in me and my fight. It’s amazing that what I do on a daily basis inspires other people to change the way they act. If I inspire just one person to get up and run or exercise more, well that’s about the best feeling I can have.

Do you think you have inspired people at Metro?

I think so. You can see by the number of people who are doing the Run to Breathe this year vs past years. And I think just the way I approach life –no frills, with a carefree attitude. I take things as they come and roll with the punches. All these things are important to everyday life… and advertising.

Wow, thank you Stephen, your courage definitely inspires me!

Editor’s note: As of 6/20, Stephen completed his seventh marathon. Yahoo! Sports promptly wrote an article about him and his life. You can read the full article and view Stephen’s “Why I Run” YouTube video for Dick’s Sporting Goods here:

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/men-action/201306/cystic-fibrosis-cant-hold-back-marathon-runner-steve-bell