For most people, running one or two full marathons a year is quite the feat, but for 33-year-old Rob Young it’s merely a short warm-up. This British superhuman did the unthinkable last year, completing a whopping 370 marathons, which basically means he ran more than one marathon per day! It all started as a silly bet with his partner Joanna Hanasz on a Sunday morning, in April 2014, as they watched the TV coverage of the London Marathon. It was, in fact, Young who had insisted that he’d rather stay in and watch TV than go for a walk in the park with their son. He obviously wasn’t very interested in running at the time, and actually considered it ‘boring’.
But something changed that morning, when Hanasz teased him that he couldn’t run marathons, even if he tried. Young jokingly replied that he would bet her ‘twenty pence’ that he could run 50, a challenge that he later took seriously. The very next morning he woke up at 3.30 am, printed out the route of the Richmond Marathon, and completed it before work. And he felt so good that he returned to it every day, running the equivalent of 10 marathons by the end of the week.
Before long, Young was addicted to running. He spent all of last year’s 365 days running a combination of marathons and ultra-runs, eventually completing the equivalent distance of 422 marathons, in 370 separate runs. “On one day I realised that all of my dreams and passions that I’ve always wanted, pretty much all my life, could all just happen,” he said, speaking to Business Insider.
The story of Young’s entry into the world of running might seem a tad frivolous, but his real story is rather dark, with a history of physical and psychological abuse by his violent, drunk father. In his book, Marathon Man, Young describes how his father would lock him in a suitcase and throw him down the stairs on multiple occasions. He was routinely beaten, and one time, nearly hung to death. The ordeal ended at age six, when Young, his mother and sister, finally managed to escape the man.
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