I really enjoy theRun The Planet website with all its features and information. One of my favorite sections is the "Rtp Missions" section that gives runners a "purpose" for their running. Of those listed, my favorite is the "Mission 1: Around the Whole World" where runners are challenged to "run for a total of 24,881 miles", the circumference of the planet Earth. Can you recommend any greater challenge to this distance runner than the successful accumulation of miles equivalent to the circumnavigation of the planet? - Looking for a Challenge
For a distance runner the ever-continuing goal of marathon medallion collection usually serves to test ones skill and endurance. The 4:30 marathoner will accept the challenge of a 4:00 finish; the 4-hour finisher will seek to qualify for Boston, ad infinitum. The Rtp Mission 1 section of this website seeks to enable even the casual runner to earn the running equivalent of "frequent flyer miles" by comparing the ever-increasing total of run miles with a known set distance, such as the 24,881-mile circumference of the home planet.
There's no question that such a "mission" is both noble and impressive. To meet the demands of Mission 1, a runner has to maintain her/his running ability, overcome periods of doubt and boredom, avoid injury and be able to sustain at least a half dozen years of running before you achieve your goal.
Now, I could easily list for you running challenges, which might exceed that of the previously described "Around the World" run. I could suggest a marathon up the face of Mount Everest, or an aquatic adventure using scuba gear and some custom made running flippers... but I'm of the opinion that the only mission of interest to a distance runner, by definition requires... well... distance!
As Earthbound creatures we have a limited understanding of the possibilities of "distance". Many of us consider the estimated mileage from one continental coast to the other as a significant expanse while others congratulate themselves upon the successful navigation from the couch to the "power switch" of our 19-inch television sets on those untimely instances where the remote control is lost or inoperative.
What is a greater challenge to running around the planet? How about running around another planet? Jupiter, for example, has an impressive circumference of 280,000 miles while the Sun is 2,715,364 miles round.
If your inclined to remove yourself from the gravitational bounds of planetary systems, you could make an effort to follow in the virtual footsteps of the Apollo astronauts and run the more palatable equivalent distance from the Earth to the Moon of 239,000 miles.
If you want to get really silly, you could go all out and set, as your goal, the running of the equivalent distance from the Earth to the most distant man made object in space: the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched on September 5th, 1977 and is now over 7 billion miles away (more than twice the distance from the Earth to the planet Pluto!).
I could go on with some other seemingly wacky suggestions, but in the end you'll have to find your own realistic challenge. The important thing is to set a goal of some kind. To do so is to charge you with the task of improved performance and that is the best running mission of all!
Run long and taper.