What First Marathons and Extramarital Affairs Have in Common

Jan 16, 2015

Shortly before Denny Henrich turned 50, he ran his first marathon. 

“I realized that I was turning 50, and I figured I’d better get it done. I thought my body might start falling apart,” he laughs.

According to researcher Hengchen Dai, who is based out of the University of Pennsylvania, he’s not the only one who has set major goals or accomplished “bucket list” items shortly before or after turning 50. She researches what is called the “Fresh Start Effect,” why we’re motivated by holidays that mark time like Yom Kippur or New Year’s or by milestone birthdays.

Her colleagues have found that shortly before turning an age that ends in a “0,” people are more likely to run their first marathon or have an affair. During this Talk of Iowa conversation, Charity Nebbe talks with Henrich, Dai and therapist Armeda Wojciak who works in couple and family counseling, about how milestones affect our goals. We also hear from callers about changes they made and ways they've celebrated major milestones. 

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