Mark Sutcliffe: My Running Life Hearing Things

Hearing Things


What were your goals for 2020? Run a destination marathon? Go to the gym every morning before work? Take a yoga class? Travel to Europe? Visit more museums? Spend less time in front of your computer?

Yeah, the world had other plans for you this year. But if, like me, you’re lucky enough to have escaped the direct path of our global pandemic, you adapt. You simplify. You prioritize. You capitalize on the sudden, enforced clarity. You set different goals.

Aside from my share of home schooling and constant Zoom meetings, the coronavirus crisis has spawned two big changes in my life. The first was an expensive impulse buy, purchasing a cottage like I was scooping up a pack of gum in the checkout line (what else are we going to do this summer?). The second is that somehow, I’ve become addicted to podcasts.

Considering I host a couple of them, maybe that shouldn’t be surprising. But not so long ago, in this same space, I haughtily extolled the virtues of running in silence. Now I can’t leave the house without my air pods and a playlist of hour-long interviews.

A couple of months ago, I could barely tell Tim Ferriss from Ferris Bueller. Now, every time I talk to someone, I’m quoting a podcast. I’ve heard life stories and lessons from Brene Brown, Jim Collins, Madeleine Albright, Kevin Hart, Ryan Holliday, Alanis Morrissette, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Penn Gillette, Elizabeth Gilbert, David Sedaris and more. Here’s a quick list of my favourite interview subjects and lessons from hours of listening on the run:

·         Richard Turner (The Tim Ferriss Show): Looking for inspiration? Turner is one of the best card magicians in the world, and he also happens to be blind.

·         Seth Godin (Ferriss): Many life hacks, including how to make a better cup of coffee and how to choose when to say no.

·         Chris Voss (Armchair Expert): Lessons on the art of everyday persuasion from a former FBI hostage negotiator.

·         George Raveling (Ferriss): The legendary college basketball coach shares a powerful perspective on systemic bias, including how he has rehearsed how to stay alive if he gets pulled over by the police.

·         Jason Bateman (Armchair Expert): The star of Ozark and former child actor is hilarious and insightful about reviving his career and getting a second chance in Hollywood.

·         Michael Lewis (Ferriss, Breaking All the Rules): The author of Moneyball shares great lessons about writing with Ferriss, and unpacks the role of coaching in our lives on his own new podcast.

·         Ken Burns (Ferriss): Not surprisingly, the documentarian is a fascinating storyteller, including a gem about watching children with learning disabilities memorize the Gettysburg Address.

Of course, if you get through that list and still want more, you can always listen to iRun Radio.


  1. Every podcast recommendation on this post is a man and only one is a person of colour. To recommend this list right now is supremely off the mark. Do better, iRun.

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