Inspiration From Stefaan Engels

As a youngster, Stefaan Engels was diagnosed with asthma and told to avoid strenuous exercise. Fortunately, he did not heed the advice.

Now 49 years old, Stefaan recently finished running his 365th marathon in 365 days. Yes, that is correct. He ran a marathon every day for an entire year. That’s 9,569 miles in the year, which means he averaged more than one mile for every hour in the day for a full year. He wasn’t crawling either. He averaged around 4 hours for each marathon, but ran as fast as 2 hours and 56 minutes. His marathon stretch covered 7 countries. He ran in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

Personally, I have little to no interest in marathon running, but I’m extremely impressed with Stefaan’s accomplishment. There were days when he’d run a marathon and then rush to the airport so he could run in another country the next day. Talk about consistency and dedication.

It is quite common to challenge yourself with difficult goals, yet become distracted as time passes. Stefaan stayed on course every day for an entire year. I’m sure there were difficult times for him, when he questioned whether he’d get up and continue. He persevered however, one day at a time.

I first mentioned Stefaan’s goal to run a marathon every day for a year several months ago on Facebook. Many chimed in with doubt, adamantly stating that it could not be done. It’s nice to see that the critics have been silenced again. Stefaan did what many thought was impossible.

Much can be said about his consistency. Regardless of your interest (or lack of) in marathon running, we could all benefit from such determination and perseverance. Hats off to Stefaan for an inspiring year of running.


“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.”


  1. Wow, 9,563 miles in a year. By comparison, I only put about 6,000 miles on my car last year. Impressive and inspiring.

    I wonder how many pairs of shoes he went through. Not a lot of time to break in a new pair.

  2. @Andrew: I am – like Stefaan Engels – from Belgium. His final accomplishment was featured on the evening news. They mentioned he went through 25 pairs of running shoes. They also said something about a total consumption of 2000 bananas… 🙂 Quite impressive indeed.

  3. I’ve run a few half marathons and I usually have a week long recovery period where I take it easy. I can’t imagine running back to back half marathons at race pace, much less doing full marathons for a full year. That is freaking amazing.

  4. A few years back I read a great book written by Dean Karzanes called “Ultramarathon Man”. A good read for anyone who needs motivation to get out and get active. I have always been very active but this book kicked it up a notch. I felt that if Dean could do the things he shared, I should be able to a fraction more and be better for it. This is yet another great feat of perserverance and dedication that makes most of us humble in comparison. I too am 49 yrs. old and this is one more reason why I do the things I do. When I think I am working hard and doing well, someone like Stefaan blows me away. Thank you for another great post Ross!

  5. very inspiring post and an encouragement for everyone.
    congrats and keep it up. I will shared this to my uncle
    he’d been astmatic since he is in grade school..
    thanks for sharing….

  6. The amazing part besides the running is the organization and planning he had to do to find the races and fly and travel to them. Bravo!

  7. Holy crap, that is absolutely amazing! That is some of the most determination I have ever heard of. If the obese people in the United states had 1/100th of that determination we would not be dealing with an epidemic of obesity. Thanks for the inspiring post.

  8. Most people aim to run a marathon in their lifetime. When people Engels do something like running a marathon every day, it defies the limits humans put on ourselves. He certainly have something that ordinary people do not have. But guess what, we only think we do not have. If we dig deep within ourselves, we can be like Engels and do amazing things too.

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