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Calling All Runners!

20/01/2014

Why am I doing this again? Why am I doing this again?

I want to hear about your experiences running long distances.  Can you help?

Last year I began writing my second novel.  It's a post-apocalyptic story called The End of the World Running Club, about an under-achieving slob who finds himself having to run the length of a pretty messed-up United Kingdom to find his family.

I love running (the main character hates it) and I've been fascinated by ultra-running since reading books like Born to Run by  Christopher McDougall and Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.  I'm want to understand more about the kind of will required to push the body through those 30, 50 and 100 mile slogs and the physical, emotional and, sometimes, spiritual effects those distances can bring.  I've personally never run further than a marathon, so to research what it's like to run much longer distances (albeit not ones that include plane-wrecks, floods or asteroid craters) I contacted a few ultra-running friends of mine to see if they could help.  Their responses were really useful and I thought it would be interesting to open up the same questions to a wider group.

Can you help by answering my questions?  Do you want the chance to wax lyrical about your own experiences (runners love doing this!) and help shape a novel?  You don't necessarily have to have run an ultra; even if you're a middle or short distance runner, I'd love to hear about your own experiences.

If you'd like to help, feel free to post your answers to the following questions in the Comments section below.  Alternatively, you can just email your answers to me at adrian@adrianjwalker.com.  I'm hoping to compile a list of the most interesting responses in the run up to the book's release.  This should be happen within the next few months -you can sign up for updates by entering your email address in the box to the right.

To say thanks, I'll make sure every one who helps out receives a free copy of the eBook!  I hope I regret saying that... :-)

Here are those questions:

  1. Can you give an account of the longest distance you've ever run in a single session and/or over consecutive days?  What physical and psychological effects did you experience?
  2. How does your mental/emotional state change over long distance?  I'm interested to know what happens to your thought processes and feelings when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  3. What state of mind do you find to be the most conducive to running extreme distances?  Can you control this?
  4. Have you ever hallucinated whilst running?
  5. If so, did the hallucination help or hinder you?
  6. Have you ever 'blacked out' whilst running, ie realised you've just run five or ten miles without realising it?
  7. Have you ever broken through multiple walls whilst running a long distance?  What gets you through them?
  8. If you were facing a month of running a marathon or more every day, what would you see as the single biggest obstacle?  How would you counter this?
  9. Do you run better on your own or in company?
  10. If you had to prepare a man who hated running/exercise for the above, what would you tell him?
  11. Do you believe that anyone can run long distances?  If so, what quality do you think we possess as humans which allows us to do this?
  12. Why do you run?  And why do you run so far...?

Thanks for your help!