As we gear up for the 42nd U.S. Marine Corps Marathon, where Rosslyn will host the Finish Festival October 22 (be sure to check it out; it's not just for runners!), we're featuring articles about one of life's most freeing and accessible fitness activities: running! In this third piece, we meet David K. Bain: Arlington entrepreneur, co-owner of River Place Storage in Rosslyn, and co-founder of Startup Movement, a networking running group of startup CEOs who frequent Rosslyn's nearby Theodore Roosevelt Island for many of their runs.
Local serial entrepreneur David K. Bain didn't always eschew the traditional 9 to 5 routine in favor of a career that allowed him to pick and choose his next project. But after a while, the busy father of two realized that he was consistently able to predict trends and see opportunities before they were obvious to others. And so, he decided to strike out on his own.
Over the years, Bain has been involved in such tech ventures as Reticare and Events.com. Most recently, he's served as the co-owner of River Place Storage in Rosslyn, president of TM Techologies, Inc., and founder of the Technology Safety Council, a nonprofit that's educating people about safe and sustainable technology use.
No matter where he's devoting his energies, Bain turns to running as a way to stay fit, clear his head and get the creative juices flowing. He thinks better when he's running. It gives him focus. His father, he says, was a champion quarter-miler for the Florida Gators. Running is in his blood. He also believes that the health and vitality of any startup ecosystem is an intrinsic function of the physical health and vitality of its members.
It's not surprising, then, that in 2012 Bain co-founded Startup Movement (formerly Running Start), a networking group of area startup CEOs who meet regularly to work out together and ruminate on their latest ideas and sources of inspiration.
"We founded Startup Movement because we wanted to network in a way that was calorie negative. It was about saving time and fitting in a light workout," Bain says. "There are some really unexpected dividends to running in a group. It’s easier to get a good workout when you’re engaged in interesting interaction. The miles go by and you're like, “Wow, did we just run seven miles?' And you don’t notice the effort involved."
Bain hosts Startup Movement on Meetup.com. A good turnout is about a half-dozen people, he says. Because of the specificity of everyone's interests, it's not a big running group. Rosslyn's nearby Theodore Roosevelt Island is a frequent spot for their jaunts. The group has a few core regulars, but often new participants surface each time they run. Many runners, including Bain himself, are members of MindShare, an invitation-only network of about 1,000 D.C.-area technology CEOs who oversee companies that have high growth potential.
When the group began, Bain says he was pleasantly surprised by the creative synergies that emerged during their runs. Many participants would resolve challenges or achieve greater decision-making clarity after posing their concerns to the group.
"There's something about running . . . it's like it's a partially hypnotic or Zen experience that puts you in a very different state of mind than when you're sharing coffee or lunch with another person," Bain says. "I would say there's an instant, inexplicable level of trust . . . something primordial one feels when running in a pack of people. It's a great way to answer complex strategic questions."
As a matter of fact, Bain says he decided to invest in River Place Storage after one such run. The facility is now fully occupied, so it proved to be a wise decision. He also decided while running to take on the Technology Safety Council as his latest big venture. At the latest Startup Movement workout, runners discussed ventures related to electric and autonomous vehicles.
Startup Movement is changing, though, and as the name implies, it will soon be about more than running. Bain wants the group to be more inclusive, and will soon be incorporating other fitness activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, hiking or spinning classes. He feels this could help expand participation.
To learn more about Startup Movement, check out their Meetup page. Maybe your next big idea is only a run away.