By: CHRISTOPHER MCDOUGALL
More than 76 years ago, a visionary Australian coach had an epiphany that forged a generation of super-athletes: true fitness is all about translating fear into raw power.
The doctor delivers your death sentence: You’re sick, you’re incurable, you’ve got just a few months to live. What’s your next move?
Head to the racetrack, naturally. That was Percy Cerutty’s attitude. Back in 1938, Percy was a binge-drinking, chain-smoking, chronically coughing, 43-year-old Australian postal worker who was bedridden with fainting spells, blinding headaches, and a mysterious pain arcing through his legs and back. Doctors were called to his bedside, where they found him smoking four packs a day despite wheezing with pneumonia. The only debate was how much time to give him.
But amazingly, it worked. Percy bounced back from the grave in spectacular fashion. With his bonus time, he began to jog, then run, then fly: by age 50, he could run a mile in 4:54, a marathon in 2:58, and 100 miles (yup, the dead man was now doing ultras) in 23:45. He created his own nature-based lifestyle philosophy and called himself a “Stotan”—half Spartan, half Stoic.
Which means—what, exactly?
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