Here is a quote from Eric Liddell, "God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." Now, God did not make me anywhere near as fast as he made Eric Liddell. He did make me faster than a lot of other people (and slower than many as well) and He made me persistent. Eric Liddell was not a distance runner. I would say that in my case, I feel God's pleasure in me when I am persistent, stick with what I was meant to do, and complete it. Particularly in the presence of others.
Does this apply to long distance running--I believe it does. This applies to more than just running--as, I think, do most of the lessons I take from my running. I believe that God is pleased when I persist at any task in life. I believe that when I find the path that God has intended for me to follow and stick with it he is please. I believe that God is pleased when I complete things.
Why is it important in other people's presence? I believe that God wants me to share. What good are accomplishments if they are not shared? What good is running alone? Isn't it better to run with others--not necessarily alongside them, as I was ahead in the workout this evening--but with others. I may represent something for others to aspire to. (I may also represent something that others just think is crazy.) And, when I am done and have caught my breath, I take a lesson from an old friend, turn around, and cheer on every other person in my group. If I've lapped them, I cheer them on not just when they finish but every time they come around. And for my cheering and encouragement to be effective it has to be sincere.
So, if I were to adapt Liddell's quote for long distance runners, I'd say "God made me somewhat fast and very persistent. And when I start and complete a long hard run and sincerely share the joy of the experience with others in word or in deed, I feel His pleasure."