The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

How good is The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner on a scale of 1-10?

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Ancient Mariner
My favourite track on SiT, and one of my favourite Maiden tracks of all time. This is one of my go-to tracks if I have a small quantity of washing up.



Ancient Mariner
Another 8, and another in the long line of songs that I love in this album but which don't quite make it any higher. "Must be so determined and push myself on..." is a fantastic part as it transitions into the solo.


Previous Albums:

Iron Maiden - 6.67

8 - Prowler
6 - Sanctuary
7 - Remember Tomorrow
6 - Running Free
9 - Phantom Of The Opera
7 - Transylvania
4 - Strange World
6 - Charlotte The Harlot
7 - Iron Maiden

Killers - 5.91

6 - The Ides Of March
6 - Wrathchild
6 - Murders In The Rue Morgue
5 - Another Life
5 - Genghis Khan
5 - Innocent Exile
8 - Killers
5 - Prodigal Son
8 - Purgatory
6 - Twilight Zone
5 - Drifter

The Number Of The Beast - 7.56

6 - Invaders
7 - Children Of The Damned
8 - The Prisoner
7 - 22 Acacia Avenue
9 - The Number Of The Beast
10 - Run To The Hills
6 - Gangland
5 - Total Eclipse
10 - Hallowed Be Thy Name

Piece Of Mind - 7.44

8 - Where Eagles Dare
9 - Revelations
9 - Flight Of Icarus
7 - Die With Your Boots On
8 - The Trooper
7 - Still Life
6 - Quest For Fire
6 - Sun And Steel
7 - To Tame A Land

Powerslave - 6.75

8 - Aces High
7 - 2 Minutes To Midnight
3 - Loss Fer Words
7 - Flash Of The Blade
5 - The Duellists
6 - Back In The Village
9 - Powerslave
9 - Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Somewhere In Time

8 - Caught Somewhere In Time
9 - Wasted Years
8 - Sea Of Madness
8 - Heaven Can Wait
8 - The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner


clap hands

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a lyrical misfire from the get-go. Heavy metal can be a lot of things, folks, and I’m generally open-minded about subject matter as long as it fits the tone of the music. This time around, though, Steve thought he should write an Iron Maiden song about running. Not running for your life, not running to be free, not running to the hills…just running. I’m sorry, but I cannot take it seriously. The whole song basically narrates what it feels like to run for a long while on a track (and apparently it’s all worthless because the runner is lonely). It’s a damn shame, too, because the music is phenomenal. The haunting intro could be the template for a few songs off of Brave New World, the verses have some furious riffing and synchronized full-band fills, the lead guitar underlying the chorus is magical, the bridge is superbly composed, the solos and unison sections are perfect, but the lyrics are just so dull.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Lyrics are a bit odd but I think Steve was trying to go for something a bit more metaphorical, even if the execution wasn't great.

Otherwise doesn't really affect the song at all for me. The main strength here is by far the guitars. There are so many great melodies, harmonies, and solos here. I'm not too well versed in the genres, but I imagine this song must've had a major influence on the speed and power genres. Usually when I listen to those bands I imagine this song is the vibe they're going for. Anyway, it's one of those songs where the lyrics take a back seat for a moment and Steve lets the music really tell the story. This song could be completely instrumental and would still work. That said, Bruce's vocals are pretty good on this all things considered. I think I could've done without that last verse though. Kinda drags down the momentum of the song for me.



Another mixed bag of a song from SiT. Absolutely love the staccato verse sections with the fast choppy riff. It's cool how it seems to mirror the rhythm of runnin. But the chorus is meh and the slow guitar harmony bits really weigh the song down.

'the Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner'

I think it's a great track! I think it's a wayyyy better track than HCW. I mainly like the allegorical aspect of it (lyric-wise). Or should we take it all at face value and assume that it is abouit some runner? My loose interpretation of it is if you want something you have to go and get it. If you run into a hurdle, then you must get over it to reach your dream (or whatever). I don't know, that's what it is to me. It's inspired me! [!--emo&:D--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/biggrin.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'biggrin.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
Highly underrated.

It's based on a short story of the same name. Basically, a kid called Smith robs a bakery, and he gets arrested and sent to a 'Prison School'. He takes up long-distance running as an escape (mentally) from the school's regime. The higher-ups offer him a lighter workload for his last 6 months if he wins a cross-country competition against a rival school. During the race, he shoots past everyone else, but when he's getting close to the end, he stops and lets everyone else finish before him, in defiance. The school goes hard on him, but he feels it was worth it.


Ancient Mariner
Interesting track. not a fan of the rythm on the chorus, but the buildup to H's solo is a thing of beauty. Good song.


Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
How can one describe this song? It's a gem. Plainly and simply a gem. The music is great, the singing and lyrics fit, it's a gem, plain and simple. Really debating between 10 and 9, but I think I'll go with 10/10 for now.
Does anyone know the reason LOTLDR was only played once????
They say its because it didnt "work live"... what does that even mean? Also couldn't they tell how it would sound live from the rehearsals?

Metal Warrior 330

Ancient Mariner
Its an amazing song and one of my all time favorite Maiden songs. Its also one of the very first songs that got me into Iron Maiden. I really hope to hear it live. I found out that I have Fatty Liver Disease a couple of weeks ago though I naturally freaked out at first I've been doing my best to eat right and exercise. I play The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner every time I'm on the treadmill or when I go out for a run. It works very well in pushing myself harder.


Priest of the Holy Wristband
Does anyone know the reason LOTLDR was only played once????
They say its because it didnt "work live"... what does that even mean? Also couldn't they tell how it would sound live from the rehearsals?
Steve, who liked it a lot during rehearsals, got bored with it, and said it didn't work. Maybe the band could not play it as tight as he wanted, or maybe they didn't get the expected reaction from the crowd.