Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Running, writing are very similar

As a marathon runner who’s done 11 races, I commend Las Vegas Weekly Editor Sarah Feldberg for her story on ultramarathon runner Josh Brimhall. Ultramarathons and the shorter 26.2-mile runs are about much more than grueling physical tests. For example, I ran the 26.2 to prove that poets aren’t just effete intellectuals who only come out at night.

Long-distance running is an apt metaphor for writing. Both are long, hard and lonely. Every brain cell measures the enduring pain of each nerve fiber and straining muscle. Though U.S. Marines call pain “weakness leaving the body,” the marathon challenge for most of us is just to make it. And when writer Alan Sillitoe tells us he “imagines the loneliness of the long-distance runner,” racking up unfathomable miles is much like a writer facing the horror of a blank page.

For reporters, that’s another story — building that day’s work in column inches and ’graphs — creating a great paper.

Finally, the challenge for runners and writers alike is purely an inner one — to stay the course, to get it right and get the job done.

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