The distance runner is a breed apart. The long hours of training for an event are not spent on a pitch in the companionship of teammates. Many days no one knows whether you trained. Or not.
Rainy windy evenings the only pitch is that of darkness. The only companion your breath and heartbeat. The world dissolving into a gray blur, only your own focus on your effort remaining sharp.
There is an oft spoken about loneliness, moving too fast to connect with anyone even should one happen to pass someone. A disconnectedness even while running amidst people one knows. There is always that sense of being in a moving void, fully present, yet completely absent.
Nothing external compels a distance runner. There is no team to let down, only a singular self. Out on the road there exists only the individual will to run.