Doug SeeburgRob Young at the finish line of the Trans-American Footrace.
One Sunday morning in April 2014, 31-year-old Rob Young lay splayed on his living room sofa. He was bickering with his partner Joanna Hanasz.
Young insisted that he would rather stay in and watch the TV coverage of the London Marathon, rather than go for a walk in the park with their son Alexander.
At that time, running wasn’t really Young’s thing. He thought it was “boring.” He would run the occasional 5K on the weekend, but nothing more.
So Hanasz teased him. “You’ll never run a marathon,” she said.
“I will,” He replied. “I could run fifty.”
“Fifty marathons!?” Hanasz laughed.
“I’ll bet you twenty pence (about thirty cents) I can,” Young said, offering his hand.
A marathon is 26.2 miles.
The next morning, Young’s alarm rang at 3:30 a.m. He got up, printed off the Richmond Marathon route, and ran it. Afterward, he went to work at the car parts business he managed as normal. He felt so good that instead of returning exhausted after finishing his shift, Young went straight back to the park to run another.
That week he completed a total of 262 miles — or 10 marathons.
He was addicted.
“On one day I realized that all of my dreams and passions that I’ve always wanted, pretty much all my life, could all just happen,” he told Business Insider.
During the 365 days of the last year, Young ran 370 races that were at least 26.2 miles long. Some of these races were “ultra-runs,” which are even longer than 26.2 miles, meaning he actually ran the equivalent distance of 422 marathons.
Fascinated by Young’s story, I decided to go for a run with Young around Richmond Park in London. The plan was to interview him while running. However, given my apparent inability to speak after a few kilometers of jogging, it was fortunate that Young also welcomed me into his apartment, where he told more about his story.