How New ASTM President Andy Kireta Learned to Run the Mile He’s In

On the latest episode of Standards Impact, Kireta talked about what he's learned from running, why he's so passionate about ASTM, and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.
JP Ervin

Andy Kireta became president of ASTM International on May 1, 2024. Formerly president of the Copper Development Association (CDA), he has been an active member of ASTM for more than two decades and held several key leadership roles, including serving as the 2020 chair of the board.

Kireta joined host David Walsh on the Standards Impact podcast to talk about the new role and the path that led him to the president’s office. They also spoke at length about Kireta’s vision for ASTM’s future and why he’s been a member of the organization for over 20 years.

However, the pair began their conversation by talking about running. In addition to his enthusiasm for standards, Kireta is also a dedicated runner who competes in ultra-marathons. He spoke about the many lessons he’s learned from running and gave the advice that you should just “run the mile you're in.”

Read an excerpt of their conversation or listen to the full episode here.



David Walsh: It's fairly well known that one of your passions is long-distance running. In fact, you've run ultra marathons in the past, which I believe are 50 miles. That is incredible to someone like myself. How has running influenced your personal life and your career? Is it a discipline that you can translate into the real world?

Andy Kireta: It's definitely a discipline I can translate into the real world. I'm not sure if it's shaped my personality or my personality has shaped my running, but I've certainly learned a lot of things that I find really apply across my life. It's really taught me to run the mile that I'm in, which really means you go out and if I'm going to run 10 miles or I'm going to run three miles, or I'm going to run 50 miles, I can't run the 50th mile before I run the first mile. That applies across life. It's deal with the problem that's right in front of you today. Don't worry about the problem that may not be there tomorrow. Run the mile that you're in.

That's been very helpful because a lot of the problems that you deal with or the situations and opportunities you deal with in everyday life and in business are bigger than something where you can make a decision right away. They're usually very complex, and you have to break them down and take the piece that you can and deal with before you move to the next piece. That’s certainly one of the lessons and disciplines that running has brought to my life and to my business as well.

The other one a lot of people don't think about is who you run with matters. Everyone asks when they get me on a video call, I have medals from races behind me. None of those are from winning races. They are all memories of many, many miles leading up to that race that I spent running and training with other people. You can put up with some people you don't like for a mile. You can't do that for 50 miles.

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I equate that to life. You tend to choose your friends that way, but it's also important to choose your business relationships that way. It's important to choose the organizations you work for. And having just started with ASTM, it certainly is one of the things that brought me to the organization. I've been a member for 26 years. I've known the senior leadership team. I know much of the staff, I know a lot of the members. The people that I knew I would get to associate with, I'd be willing to run 50 miles with them. It really is important because after a mile or two, they start to get pretty annoying.

Then there's other ones. It’s really about persistence and the fact that, especially for folks that don't do crazy things like running long distances, it just seems like it's hard. I can't do that. It’s really not. It's all about persistence. It's all about troubleshooting. It's all about your mindset, and it's all about really controlling what you can't control and not worrying about the other stuff I can't control on any given day. If someone's faster than me, if someone can run longer than me, I can't control that. I am putting the time in to be where I want to be, to be the best that I can be. That applies all across life and everything I've done.

Listen to the full episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

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