The Man Who Runs 365 Marathons a Year

No superpower will work in a vacuum—we all need to have a small inspiration. Shattuck idolizes and tries to design himself just after Marcus Luttrell, the previous Navy SEAL who was the inspiration driving the Hollywood film Lone Survivor, and David Goggins, one more previous SEAL, who has accomplished much more than 60 extremely-endurance situations and wrote the bestseller Cannot Damage Me. Goggins is a standard on Luttrell’s Workforce Never Quit podcast.

To stick to the path of Luttrell and Goggins, one has to have a sure tendency toward masochism: “I motivate myself with dark photographs, like me at the bottom of a sewer. That graphic makes me incredibly powerful,” Goggins states in one podcast job interview. “Motivation is not adequate. Drive is crap. You need to have passion.” 

Shattuck surely has the latter. Throughout our initial cellphone connect with, his voice broke as he relayed the hardships Luttrell survived in Afghanistan. “These servicemen and women—what they do, what they go as a result of, they crack their bodies and they keep heading,” he sobbed. “Like Marcus, I made the choice a very long time ago that I’m not heading to stop. I am in no way heading to stop.”

Shattuck’s emotional response shocked me, specifically due to the fact he has in no way been in the army. But as we run as a result of the countryside, I quickly comprehend that his same intensity bubbles to the surface with most almost everything he does. He tells me about his “pace pyramids,” a psychological increase he takes advantage of on his minimum determined times to get as a result of the miles, jogging nine at a 15-minute speed, eight at a fourteen-minute speed, and so on right up until he’s finished. (“If I commence out gradual adequate,” he states, “I just never stop.”) Then he relays his vegan interval, a stage for the duration of which he ingested 25 scoops of a green superfood powder per day, a pattern he experienced to cease due to the fact he obtained so wired that, he states, “I felt like I was consuming energy.”

As the miles tick off on our loop of Ripon, Shattuck’s inspirational quotes give way to a darker previous. In high university, he ran cross-country but was also a “party animal” who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and raged all evening, making use of liquor, and later cocaine, to extremes. He even now managed to go to college or university and graduate from UW-Stevens Position with a diploma in social science. After school he worked in a variety of accounting positions in Madison even though continuing to get together. He ran for the duration of all those years but not adequate to beat the excess. By 2004, his earlier lithe six-foot-one-inch, one hundred fifty-pound frame experienced ballooned to 240 kilos. 

“I was a pack-a-day marathoner,” he jokes. In 2006, he ran the Chicago Marathon in 3:09:31, just 29 seconds below the cutoff to qualify for Boston, which he accomplished two several years later with his brother, Steve. (Their sister, Alison Dawson, even now holds the two-mile document at Ripon Large School and acquired a Division I monitor and cross-nation scholarship to the College of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.) 

Shattuck’s partying everyday living abruptly ended in 2013, he states, just after a man or woman close to him went on a drug binge that virtually killed him. With that wake-up connect with, he doubled down on the pure endorphin highs he obtained from jogging, ultimately increasing his mileage to 50- and a hundred-mile ultras. Then, in the summertime of 2018, a friend from high university died from liquor poisoning. 

“The man drank himself to death,” he states. In the aftermath, Shattuck dreamed up the 26 Times of Xmas, an effort and hard work to run a marathon each day for 26 times straight, starting off on November 30, 2018. Shortly just after, in mid-December, Shattuck was fired from his position as a senior economical professional at the College of Wisconsin-Madison. Shedding his position strike him difficult. 

“I crumbled as terrible as you could think about,” he states. “I could not fucking cease crying. I didn’t comprehend how considerably of my id was tied up in that position.” 

He stopped sleeping considerably, getting just one to three several hours just about every evening. But he ongoing to run his marathons, typically starting off at 3 or 4 A.M. Throughout all those early-early morning jogs, he fantasized about how he could stop his everyday living without the need of his spouse and children suspecting suicide. He begun to crack down in tears at the slightest provocation. The suicidal thoughts grew to become a near frequent presence in his intellect. He made a program to head west to the mountains and “accidentally” get lost on a run, disappearing off the face of the earth. 

Just one of the only things that stopped him, he states, was a Workforce Never Stop podcast with U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer, who acquired the Medal of Honor for conserving the life of 36 U.S. soldiers and allies in Afghanistan in 2009. A calendar year later, a drunk Meyer pulled his Glock out of his truck’s glove compartment and attempted to destroy himself. The pistol was unloaded. Meyer subsequently sought assist for post-traumatic tension ailment. 

“Jesus Christ, man,” Shattuck advised me. “If an individual like that doesn’t fucking stop it, I thought, I just cannot stop it possibly.” 

But Shattuck was freaked out by the twists and turns of his personal intellect. “It was distinct I necessary fucking immediate assist.” 

That December, he named an just after-several hours clinic in Madison. The nurse referred him to a physician who later diagnosed him with bipolar ailment and prescribed an antipsychotic drug.

When Shattuck completed the very last marathon of his 26 Times project on Xmas early morning, he couldn’t come across a legitimate motive to stop. So, like the Forrest Gump cliché, he kept on jogging. “26.two miles is My New Baseline,” he wrote on Strava, on December 26, 2018, deciding at that issue to run a marathon a day for the relaxation of his everyday living. He divested his retirement account—about $5,000—into a year’s worth of jogging footwear, protein powder, and other incidentals. (He also appeared for sponsorship but didn’t have any luck.) But the hard cash did practically nothing for the pounding he took for the duration of the unrelenting miles. His shins swelled so considerably that his decreased legs grew to become bigger than his thighs. In January 2019, he obtained the flu, which caused vomiting and diarrhea. But he kept jogging. “One day I went out at twelve:49 A.M. at minus-25 temperatures and minus-fifty two windchill to shuffle all over on unplowed sidewalks to make confident I could finish,” he states. That marathon took him eight several hours, but he did it. 

“Complete excess. That is me by character,” he states. Maybe as a end result of the insomnia, Shattuck begun acquiring extreme hallucinations. 

“I’d be on an early-early morning run, and I’d see a female with a round face using tobacco a cigarette, and it would switch out it would be a bush,” Shattuck states. He experienced the same vision various times, which “scared the shit out of me.” He stop his treatment and ultimately moved again to Ripon to are living with his retired mothers and fathers.