A feature from 2001 at the New Yorker profiles a con man who used his talent for distance running and self-invention to pursue a new life. It’s a fascinating read, not least because it captures how seduced we are by tales of the “self-made man” in our culture of individualism:
If lying and being lied to are universal experiences, it is still tempting to see the preoccupation with these stories as a peculiarly American trait. Self-invention is the founding subject of American literature. We celebrate the self-made man, and honor the dream of transcending one’s origins; we are suckers for people who invent themselves from scratch.