The story of Michael Santos is probably as remarkable as any of a former federal inmate. What is perhaps most astonishing is how intently focused he remains on a healthy, productive life that began soon into what would prove to be more than 26 years’ imprisonment. An article in Business Insider demonstrates the determination and resolve that define this extraordinary individual:
Santos started running 10-mile distances daily on the prison track and five miles on visiting days. He told himself he was never more than “65 miles away from a visit,” he said. Santos sometimes ran as many as 20 miles a day, in silence and without much scenery. He used the time to focus and think about his career goals.
In 2010 Santos struck up a friendship with [ex-Brocade CEO and white collar criminal Gregory Reyes], a hugely successful businessman who was doing time for back-dating corporate stock options.[…] Santos motivated Reyes to start running, and pretty soon they were doing 10 miles together. Reyes said he’d like to do a marathon.[…] One weekend they did 15 miles. The very next weekend they decided to run the full 26.2 miles on the prison track since it was May and they knew it would just get hotter. “We should just bang it out right now,” Santos remembers telling Reyes.[…]
Santos went on to run 52.4 miles on the dusty oval during his stay in prison. He banged out 700 miles his last month of prison, averaging more than 20 miles a day. He’s been out of prison since 2012. Faced with the social demands of freedom, Santos has “only” run six marathon distances since his release.
He has never run an organized race. For him, marathons were never about getting a trophy or a pin or even getting faster.[…] “I am out there just to think, and put one foot in front of the other and hit the goals,” he said.