Setting a challenge for myself seems simple enough. Pick a goal and then work to reach it. But there needs to be more than the goal, and the process. There also needs to be some sacrifice; What will it be necessary for me to give up in order to attempt the challenge? There also needs to be some risk; Risk of physical loss, injury or monetary cost are obvious options, but a good challenge has mental, even spiritual, risk attached. Who will I be after this challenge? What about success itself? I think a good challenge must seem achievable (it mustn’t fly in the face of reality) but must actually be uncertain. It takes a special person to set and truly attempt a challenge that they aren’t certain they can achieve.

I am going to try to convince you to spend the next 4 days watching a YouTube live stream of people running round a 4.1 mile loop in Tennessee, all day and all night.

~ Matt Webb from,


I’m not sure what to say about this “backyard ultra”. Fortunately for you, the race will be over by the time this post appears. You don’t risk being sucked into the live stream by reading Webb’s article. While I’m not the least bit attracted to attempting something like this, I read the article slowly. The challenge that lies at the heart of this race is something I understand. I’m not suggesting you go try to run one of these races, but I do hope you have experienced true self-set challenge.