Runners with long Covid launch Flagstaff’s Dream Run Camp

Never one to waste a free minute, Matt Fitzgerald climbs into the second row of his Mazda CX-90 on a weekday morning and opens his MacBook so he can work on another book.

Mr. Fitzgerald, 52, is many things — writer, speaker, coach — but above all, he is prolific. He wrote or took notes 34 books, most of them about running, endurance sports and nutrition. He writes early. He writes often. He writes a lot.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m doing B-plus work on a dozen things while I’m doing A-plus work on three or four things,” he said. “But I am who I am. There are always a few things where I try to do my best at all times and I think that’s enough.”

Mr. Fitzgerald has a slim, athletic build that hints at another part of his identity: long-distance runner. He was also successful in this area and completed 50 marathons – his fastest time was 2 hours 39 minutes 30 seconds. And once upon a time, he was jogging on the quiet, snow-covered street in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he had parked his SUV.

Instead, Mr. Fitzgerald waited for John Gietzel, a 48-year-old management consultant from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to finish easing so he could close his laptop and coach him through a series of hill sprints. As for himself, Mr. Fitzgerald hasn’t done much exercise for three years.

“I probably wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t gotten sick,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “But I found it surprisingly rewarding.”

Mr Fitzgerald’s battle with long Covid has, in important ways, forced him to redefine his personality and activities. In doing so, he found vicarious joy by starting a company with the name Dream Run Camp leaves his home in Flagstaff, where he lives with his wife, Nataki, and a rotating cast of recreational runners who pay between $45 and $115 a day to stay in one of four guest rooms and be coached by him.

“I’m trying to create a happening,” said Mr. Fitzgerald, who…

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