Running the Numbers: Backstory, November 2012

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Some stories take a day to report. Others, like Joe Spring's profile of Navajo cross-country coach Shaun Martin, “Running Down a Dream,” are a bit more involved. “The best stories sometimes take the longest to report,” says Sam Moulton, who edited Spring's piece. For Spring, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, it was a five-year process. Here's how it played out.

2007: Year Spring first contacted Martin about his cross-country team.

30: Days Spring spent, over the course of 18 reporting trips, on the reservation.

7: Weeks the story took to write. Says Spring: “Looking back, I guess I was a little obsessed with the whole thing.”