Longest attempt at finishing a run on a nice round number.
On 4th October 2011, Eric Laaaarsen of Finnkroken, Norway was given a GPS watch as a birthday present by his wife after expressing a vague interest in taking up jogging. He set off on a lap of his local fishing lake, a loop of approximately one mile. Other than a slight ache in his left knee, all was going well until he came to the end of the loop, at which point he noticed that his watch was showing that he had done 0.97 of a mile.
At the time, it made perfect sense to keep running for just a few more steps, so that he could finish on a nice round 1.0 miles. Sadly, that innocuous decision set in motion a terrible chain of events. Eric was momentarily distracted by a beautiful kingfisher plucking a fish from the lake, and by the time he’d snapped out of his reverie, his watch was showing 1.18 miles. He could have stopped there. He should have stopped there. But something in him wouldn’t settle for such an untidy number, and he kept running. He shuttled back and forth until his watch told him he’d done 1.8 miles, and he calculated that if he turned around now and headed back to his car, he’d finish on exactly two miles. By this point his legs, completely unaccustomed to this new punishment, had given every last bit of energy they had and his lungs were screaming for him to stop.
Unfortunately, at that very moment, he crossed paths with another runner heading in the opposite direction. Anxious thoughts suddenly loomed large in his mind like a yeti at a toddlers birthday party. If he turned around as planned, it would look as though he was following her. She’d almost certainly think he was some sort of sex murderer. His picture would be plastered all over the local news, and he’d have the shameful task of explaining to his family why they were having to move to Belgium1. So he did the only thing he could do; he kept on running.
Unfortunately (again), a similar thing happened a few minutes later, except this time he saw another runner approaching just before he was about to turn around and was worried that they’d think he’d spotted them and for some mad reason had just decided to turn and run away from them in panic. He’d already run further than he ever had in his life, and was suffering from crippling blisters and extreme dehydration, but that still wasn’t as bad as feeling mildly embarrassed in a fleeting social situation with a complete stranger he’d most likely never see again. He carried on.
These situations repeated themselves again and again, until he was battered and broken, an empty shell of a man. He finally hobbled back to where he’d parked his car just as the last remnants of daylight began to fade. He was fishing in his pocket for his keys, when he made the mistake of glancing at his watch.
“Well, we’ve come this far”, said the beyond-exhausted, electrolyte-starved part of his brain (while the rest of his brain screamed a muffled “Nooooo! You absolute bastard!”
It continued well into the night and beyond, with a series of increasingly bizarre mishaps preventing him from allowing himself to Just Stop Running.
He was finally picked up by a passing park ranger who had heard the tortured screams of “WHEN WILL THE MADNESS END!?!”. His rescuer found him shuttling back and forth along the same 10 metre stretch while staring glassy-eyed at the screen of his watch, the battery of which had long-since died.
Nine days had passed since he started running, and medical experts deduced from the degree of chafing on his inner thigh that he had covered somewhere in the region of six hundred miles.
(Well, 599.89 miles, to be exact).
1 I just plucked that place out of the air at random. I should make it absolutely 100% clear that I do NOT think Belgium is a haven for sex murderers.
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