“You must love running,” people often comment when they hear I’ve signed up for another marathon or see me leaving the office for a jog along New York’s Hudson River path. There are certainly many who do. Tim Chichester, a teacher who has just won a leg of the world’s biggest corporate race in Rochester, New York, has no hesitation when I ask what motivates him. “I love it,” he says emphatically.

For the briefest of moments, standing in the tunnel under Rochester’s minor league baseball stadium where the three-and-a-half-mile race finished, I envy his unadulterated enjoyment more than his ability to knock out a three-minute kilometre. Despite having completed more than a dozen marathons, I don’t “love” running in the straight­forward sense. It’s closer to my relationship with writing — I love having run...

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