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When it comes to enjoying a sport, a line to participate should form around the block with a menu list like this: While you are competing every 15 minutes, you’re fed Gummy Bears. Don’t worry about eating your broccoli, dude.

Have some M&M’s. Seriously. Don’t even think about that wheatgrass gruel mixture.

Forgetaboutit. Eat some potato chips. Honest.

Yes, in this sport you can eat. In fact, you need to eat, like a 7-year-old without adult supervision. Who would not be attracted to that? Thing is, and this might be interpreted as the best part, you can consume these sweets and chips every 15 minutes — for 24 hours — for 24 consecutive hours.

There’s just one little hitch, a minor thing really. It involves some activity.

You have to be running the entire time.

This may be a little discouraging, but take it from someone who has done it and done it well, it feels like a sunburst, running for 24 hours, doing something that would drop most of us to our knees, begging for an iced chai latte.

“I’ve always had a sense of trying to prove myself,” said Jon Olsen, a 40-year-old middle-school math teacher from Modesto who was the 2013 24-Hour World Champion. “I am constantly proving that I am what I am.”

And who would that be? Someone who is going on a “training run” today. That would be the Santa Rosa Marathon. Yes, a training run. A marathon. And Olsen winced when he said those words. Heard by those not familiar with ultrarunning, a runner saying he viewed a marathon as a training run would seem an obscene statement, uttered by a narcissist, smug and dismissive in his accomplishment.

“I have to be careful how I say it,” Olsen said. “It sounds egotistical if you don’t know the sport. Us ultrarunners are humble people.”

In fact, ultrarunners have to be humble for one simple reason — the pain and suffering strips away any temptation to be cocky. Whether it’s training or competing, the very physical act of running long distances brings everyone to the self-effacing place.

“Once you reach 40 miles,” Olsen said, “your feet are trashed. It doesn’t matter if you run fast or slow. At 40 miles your feet are trashed.”

Trashed as in ouch, as in pain, the stabbing sensation of sharp objects impaling feet. No one feels like a narcissist then. No one feels like bragging on how badly they are suffering when everyone around them is suffering. In that context, misery doesn’t love company. It also doesn’t want to brag about it.

Olsen, in fact, is almost polite in describing the agony and the willpower to power on through it. Yes, he knows, most people would never subject themselves to this extended torture. If your feet are trashed after 40 miles, then Olsen must have really suffered in May 2013, when he ran 167.5 miles to win the 24-Hour World’s Championship. That’s running 127.5 miles on trashed feet.

Such a feet, to excuse the pun, is an uncommon example of toughness. The garden-variety definition of toughness is somewhat vague, such as playing through pain. Yeah, OK, whatever. It offers no real tangible image. Running 127.5 miles on trashed feet, that does.

“You end up moving mentally to a better place,” said Olsen, 6-feet, 145 pounds.

Runners know what he means. But the rest of us? It’s shock and awe and bewilderment. Like Olsen saying he just counted 1,236,674 angels dancing on the head of a pin. Beyond comprehension.

“People look at you like you’re nuts,” said Olsen of his craft.

But what is nuts anyway? Someone doing something you would never ever want to do in a million years? That question could include many occupations. Fishing for crab on the Bering Sea. Carrying a gun for a living to arrest bad guys. Writing four sports columns a week. And so on and on and on … Every one of us knows of a job(s) we would never do, that it would be crazy to imagine, like laying asphalt in the summer.

Make no mistake, this is a job for Olsen. Six days a week, he rises at 4:30 a.m. to run for a couple hours. Teaches school. Coaches the middle school’s track team. Then he runs again that afternoon. When he is maintaining fitness, Olsen averages 50-75 miles a week. When he is peaking to a competition, he may go as high as 130 miles a week.

No moss grows under his feet. Life is a passion play for Olsen, be it runner, father or husband. It takes a lot of energy to be Jon Olsen, which partially explains why he broke the North American record for the fastest 100 miles last year — running 402 laps around a 400-meter track in Ottawa, Ontario. He was the first American to run it under 12 hours.

That he runs so much is not because he has no other choices. He had dreams of being an NFL kicker. A Sacramento native, Olsen received a full ride to Texas-El Paso, handling punting and placekicking at the school. But whispering to him, that invisible voice on his shoulder, was running. He ran a 4:31 mile in high school with only three months of training. He would later run a marathon in 2 hours, 37 minutes. He would go to run 20 marathons and another 20 100-mile races.

On his feet, Olsen is just as comfortable as Steve Jobs was sitting in front of a computer. It has nothing to do with a need to be recognized, to be honored, to have a medal hanging from his neck.

“In truth,” Olsen said, “I feel like I’m incognito out there. I run by myself. It’s like it’s a secret.”

Olsen runs for the challenge. Can he do 100 miles? Can he do 24 hours? Can he do 48 hours? That’s his next challenge. He wants to break the 48-hour record.

“Then I want to run a 6-day race,” Olsen said.

He is searching for his limits. To see if he has any. To wonder what’s next. What’s out there? What’ll be like when he finds it? This doesn’t sound crazy to me.

This sounds like an adventure.

To contact Bob Padecky email him at bobpadecky@gmail.com.