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The Big Run-Around
Steve Rushin
October 02, 2006
THE TEDIUM of office life can inspire brilliance. T.S. Eliot wrote poetry while clerking in a London bank, Albert Einstein daydreamed of theoretical physics while working in the Swiss patent office, and Joseph Barbera toiled at a trust company before he co-fathered The Flintstones. All of them forged beauty in the crucible of the cubicle.
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October 02, 2006

The Big Run-around

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Its founder is just one more varietal in marathoning's can of mixed nuts. Ultramarathon legend Dean Karnazes is one third of the way through his 50 runs of marathon distance in 50 states over 50 consecutive days. Karnazes has been known, during exceptionally long runs, to eat a pizza and even to fall asleep, a feat few elite athletes have attained in competition, unless you count the Kansas City Royals. Chuck Engle of Columbus, Ohio, plans to run 50 marathons in 2006, which again raises the question: Why?

Some run to escape the drudgery of the workaday world, others to replicate it. Mike Wardian, who belongs to the same running club as Rauschenberg, holds the world record for a treadmill marathon—2 hours, 23 minutes, 58 seconds of hamster-wheel monotony.

What makes Dane run? Read James Joyce, who once worked as a Berlitz instructor to fund his passion—a body of literary genius that includes the short story After the Race, in which he wrote, simply, "Rapid motion through space elates one."

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