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A man ran 415 circles around a roundabout, a 36-mile ultramarathon


I am a runner. I like to run. But 36 miles in one day would be pushing it by a lot. Our next guest not only ran 36 miles in one day, but what makes it newsworthy is how he did it - 415 laps, 415 circles around his town's roundabout. Tate Dobson lives in Healdsburg, Calif. His exercise tracking app shows a dark doughnut of overlapping circles, the path that he ran round and round and round. The comments on the app range from, you are legend, to, you are mad. Tate Dobson, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.


KELLY: I have a very basic first question. Why?

DOBSON: I don't really have an answer for that. It just seemed like fun.

KELLY: Four hundred fifteen laps seemed like fun. OK. Were you sober when you hatched this plan?

DOBSON: Not when I came up with it. I was downtown the day before Thanksgiving with...

KELLY: (Laughter) OK.

DOBSON: ...Some friends of mine from elementary school. I just had a couple of beers, and I looked at the roundabout. And I was like, I wonder how many times I could run around that.

KELLY: Yeah.

DOBSON: I don't know if it was exactly 415. Somebody else came up with that number. I just went for six hours. That was the goal.

KELLY: Six hours. And it was 36 miles. That's what your app came up with.

DOBSON: So it was Strava's idea.

KELLY: Yeah. What was it like at the midway mark? Say, three or four hours in, did you start to question whether this was a good idea?

DOBSON: No, I started to question it at like, hour one or two. After midway, it was kind of like, OK, I'm already half-done. And it keeps just getting shorter and shorter. So...

KELLY: Yeah. Was anybody out there cheering you on?

DOBSON: Yeah, especially near the end of it. There are definitely people who had driven by me before and thought I was just, you know, off on a normal run or whatever and then came back three or four hours later and would be honking at me or roll down their windows and ask how long I was gone for.

KELLY: Yeah. And what did you tell them?

DOBSON: I would just yell out, six hours, because, I mean, they have to keep driving. They're in a roundabout. So I couldn't really have much of a conversation.

KELLY: Yeah. So as you look back - this was last week that you did this - how are you feeling? Are you glad you did it? Would you do it again?

DOBSON: Yeah. I feel fine. I'm super-glad I did it. I actually am going to do it again on Sunday. I have two friends in Atlanta.


DOBSON: They're going to go run around a roundabout there. So I'm going to do it at the same time as them here.

KELLY: Same roundabout that you already did.

DOBSON: Yeah, unless I can find another one. But it's a good roundabout.

KELLY: This feels like you've just thrown down the gauntlet. Like, this might be a challenge to anybody with a roundabout in their sights and six hours to spare on Sunday.

DOBSON: I hope so. I was just trying to get a bunch of my friends to do it because they're all weird people who would do something like that. But it seems like hopefully other people will join in.

KELLY: What time on Sunday are y'all aiming for?

DOBSON: I'm starting at 7 here, so it'll be 10 o'clock over in Atlanta.

KELLY: Anything you want to say to other potential ultramarathoners out there who might have a free few hours on Sunday?

DOBSON: Just go and do it. Keep moving.

KELLY: And everybody's welcome, it sounds like.

DOBSON: Yeah. Message me on Strava or Instagram or something if you do it. I'd love to see that.

KELLY: All right. You heard it here - the invitation from Tate Dobson from Healdsburg, Calif. He ran an ultramarathon around his town's roundabout. And as you just heard, he's got another one in store for this weekend. Thank you so much, and congratulations.

DOBSON: Thank you. Yeah, thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Erika Ryan
Erika Ryan is a producer for All Things Considered. She joined NPR after spending 4 years at CNN, where she worked for various shows and in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Ryan began her career in journalism as a print reporter covering arts and culture. She's a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her dog, Millie.
Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.
Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.