By Claire Kowarsky

I was terrible at sports at school. Most of all I hated running, I remember always being in the “D” division and just walking for most of the races.

By my early 20’s, I was overweight, unfit and unhealthy. I went to see a trainer who told me that I should run. OK, I thought, and headed out the next day to try. After less than a minute of jogging I felt like I was going to have a heart and asthma attack at the same time. But for some reason I kept at it, increasing my time, minute by minute. Eventually, by my early 30’s I’d increased my stamina enough to be able to complete my first marathon, although I was very slow and could hardly walk for a few days afterwards.

Three career-related things I can thank running for are:

  1. Our company, HSS IPM – in 2016 in Zurich, after having my kids and slowly trying to get fit again, I was working with Victor Garcia and found out that we share a love of running, as well as both having busy family lives. We decided to run together at lunchtimes, where being intellectual property nerds, we often discussed interesting cases and developments in the law – really! The solid foundation of our working partnership was built running through the beautiful forests of Switzerland.
  2. Networking opportunities – after HSS IPM was founded in 2018, the first INTA Annual Conference for our firm was in Boston in May 2019. Instead of the standard “wining and dining” of clients, colleagues and associates, we developed a “Morning Miles” program of runs in the morning which was open to all INTA attendees. As well as being a fantastic way to see some of Boston, we met a group terrific, motivated people who have become important business associates. We are already looking forward to the next “Morning Miles” at INTA in Singapore, 2020.
  3. Stress relief – I won’t lie, being a business owner has its challenges as well as many wonderful benefits. Especially this year, running has been a great way to ‘switch off’, clear my head, get out and get to know new people.

Last weekend, I was thrilled to place 2nd in my division in a 5k race, followed by a personal record time in a half marathon the next day. For someone who had never ever received a sports related medal, it felt like I had come along way. I am sure running will continue to play an important role in my life for many years to come.