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Executive Diversions
Business Observer Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 5 months ago

Prominent banker completes run for milestone birthday

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Charles Idelson ran the New York City Marathon in honor of his 70th birthday.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributor

Executive: Charles Idelson, 70. His Fort Myers–based company, Investors’ Security Trust, recently merged with Busey Wealth Management. He’s now the regional president for Busey’s Florida market and can draw on the 150-year-old company’s range of banking services when working with clients.

Diversion: Running marathons. Idelson ran the New York City Marathon the year he turned 60, in 2009, and he did it again last November in honor of his 70th birthday. “Seventy is a big mark in my life, and I just really wanted to do it again,” Idelson says. “But I’m not going to do it on my 80th birthday; I’ve already got that figured out.”

Follow his friends: Idelson swore he would never run again after his stint in boot camp at Kentucky’s Fort Campbell in 1969. “But my two best friends ran marathons together, and I was always the odd guy out,” he says. “So I started running again.” His friends ran the New York City Marathon with him 10 years ago but opted not to run the 2019 race.

Best foot forward: When he hits the pavement, Idelson wears Newton running shoes, his favorite brand. “I’ve been running in those for 20 years,” he says. “I just like them. They’re comfortable, and they feel good, and your feet are your most important asset.”

Sleep schedule: Training for a marathon while living in Florida requires very early wake-up times — think 4 a.m. “You’ve got to run before the sun comes up because it is just so hot,” Idelson says. That means he hits the sack by 9 p.m. every night. “My social life is dead,” he says. “It’s a real commitment.”

Drink up: To keep hydrated on his runs, Idelson preps his water and Gatorade bottles the night before and even sets them out on his route. “I put them out on the path I’m going to take,” he says. “People think I’m nuts.”

Time to think: “I do all my strategic planning when I run,” Idelson says. “I think about my day. I think about my week. I think about what’s the next step in the business that I want to try to look at. If I have an issue, I can talk to myself about it. You’re out there by yourself for three hours, and you’ve got nobody else to talk to.”

Keep current: Idelson also listens to NPR when he runs. “I have a little pouch to keep my phone in, and I try to catch up on all the news I don’t want to hear,” he says.

Stay motivated: “There are a lot of days when I don’t feel like running,” Idelson says. “But if I don’t get the miles, then I’m not going to finish [the marathon]. I’ve got to just keep on going.” A hot shower helps wake him up and get his muscles ready for some pre-run stretching.

Start small: Idelson hears a lot of people say that they “can’t” run. “When I started running 20 years ago, I really couldn’t run a mile,” he says. He started by walking 100 yards and then running 100 yards, increasing his running distance over time. “Eventually, I was running a mile, and then all of a sudden it was three miles,” he says. “It’s a process, and you can do it, but you’ve got to want to.”

Good cause: Idelson ran the 2019 New York City Marathon in support of Hope Kids Care, which offers a variety of support services for children with chronic medical conditions or who have lost a loved one. He’s been on the board of Fort Myers–based Hope Healthcare for many years. “It’s a terrific organization,” he says. “When my mother needed hospice care, they came in and did such a magnificent job. But when you think of hospice care, you don’t think about kids, so that’s why I wanted to do it for their kids’ program.”

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