The Loneliness of the Long Haul

In August, Christine Canabou investigated how a hard-charging learned to shift gears while training for a bicycle race. Track coach John Smith trains the world’s fastest runners how to run even faster. And today in London, Sir Ranulph Fiennes completed the London marathon, his fifth marathon in as many days.

Wait. Five marathons in five days? You read right. And if all goes well, Fiennes will complete two more before the weekend is through — one in Cairo and one in New York City. That will make seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. And he ran the London leg in four hours and 41 minutes, so it’s not like he’s slacking.

Fiennes’ amazing goal makes me think of dedication, discipline, and focus — laudable traits in any setting. When running seven marathons — when running just one marathon — every step counts. Every breath matters. Sometimes being a long-distance runner can be lonely. But are you in this for the long haul? Or are you built to flip?