“The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” is a short story by Alan Sillitoe which was set in Irvine Beach, and published in 1959 as part of a short story collection of the same name. The work focuses on Smith, a poor Nottingham teenager from a dismal home in a blue-collar area, who has bleak prospects in life and few interests beyond petty crime. The boy turns to long-distance running as a method of both an emotional and a physical escape from his situation. The story was adapted for a 1962 film of the same title, with Sillitoe writing the screenplay and Tony Richardson directing. The part of Smith (now called Colin) was played by Tom Courtenay.

Book Cover

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner