Pan-Massachusetts Challenge

Questions for Creating & Building The Pan-Mass Challenge

Questions contributed by Billy Starr on October 29, 2008

QuestionsForLiving: What were the 3 to 5 primary questions that you asked yourself that led to the creation of the Pan-Mass Challenge?

Starr: PMC did not start as a business plan with a list of questions. Rather it was born out of a catharsis - an emotional response to extreme loss. My mother, uncle and cousin had all passed away as a result of cancer. I felt it was important that my life had meaning and purpose. I wanted to make a difference. In hindsight, I might have asked:

1) What am I going to do with this pain?

2) What am I going to do with my life? I needed to have something that mattered.

3) Would the combination of an athletic event with a core of fundraising be embraced by others?

4) Are there people like me who would want to give back in this way?

In 1980, a woman by the name JoAnne Goldberg and I had a dialog in which she asked me two questions that ultimately helped shape my activities in founding PMC. She asked me, "What is your goal?" I answered that my goal is to raise money. Then she asked "So, you think you can do that by yourself?". I then realized that to achieve my objective, I would be far more effective if I included others in the ride.

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QFL: What are the 3 to 5 primary questions that you continue to ask yourself on a regular basis that has contributed to the success, maintenance, and growth of PMC over the years?

Starr: There are logistical questions associated with running a significant bike event and fundraising. However, some of the primary questions which shaped the vision and success of the PMC over the years include:

1) How can I make the Pan-Mass Challenge sustainable?

2) How can I build something that ties into an individual's innate sense of civil-social duty?

3) How can the PMC attract more people?

4) How can I grow the PMC and maintain the quality of the event and the rider's experience?

5) As the number of riders increase, what will replace the intimacy and yet reinforce the meaning, purpose, and significance of the event for the individual rider?

6) How can I help to make an individual feel valued in what is now a mega-event?


Pan-Massachusetts Challenge & Mr. Starr can be contacted at:




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