23 Best Online Tutoring Jobs Hiring in 2020 (Earn $20 to $100+/Hour) - Your Money Geek

23 Best Online Tutoring Jobs Hiring in 2020 (Earn $20 to $100+/Hour) - Your Money Geek

23 Best Online Tutoring Jobs Hiring in 2020 (Earn $20 to $100+/Hour) - Your Money Geek

Posted: 25 Sep 2019 12:00 PM PDT

Are you looking to make a little extra money or launch work at home career?

Online tutoring is rapidly becoming one of the most popular side hustles and work from home jobs. Recent surveys show that online tutors can make between $14 to $25/hr, and tutors with more experience can make upwards of 60+/hr.

Online tutoring is an excellent way to make an extra $1000/mo or more,  so its no wonder the online tutoring business is booming. However, with so many companies popping up to fill the demand for tutors, it can be hard to find to tell which companies are legitimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers in work at home space

In this guide, we will help you find the best legitimate online tutoring jobs for 2019, make a case for why tutoring should be your next side hustle, and provide you with valuable resources to ensure you become a work at home success

Table of Contents

 23 Top Online Tutoring Jobs Hiring in 2020

1. VIPKid

Description: VIPKid allows you to teach English to children from other countries. The best part is that you can do this from the comfort of your home. With the option to train as often or as little as you want, VIPKid tops the list of most flexible tutoring from home opportunities.

Required Qualifications: To teach for VIPKid, you must be a current resident of the US or Canada. You must also have a Bachelors's degree in any field. Finally, you must have access to a working laptop or desktop with high-speed Internet. If you have previous teaching experience, this is a bonus.

Hourly Earning Potential: Up to $22/hour

Subjects Offered: English tutoring is the main focus of VIPKid.

VIPKID needs thousands of work-from-home teacher's to teach English online to kids in China. This is an amazing work-from-home opportunity – and don't worry, users do not need to know any foreign language or have formal teaching experience. Teachers can earn as much as $22/hour working on the VIPKID platform.

2. EF Teach Online

Description: EF Teach Online provides English lessons for 5 to 6 students at a time. English lessons can range from 20 to 45 minutes and provide access to learning materials and custom content that match their learning needs.

Required Qualifications: Teachers must be proficient in English, have a college or university degree, be computer proficient, and have an engaging online presence. If you have past teaching experience, this may be a good fit for you.

Hourly Earning Potential: Rates may vary by position.

Subjects Offered: English

Teachers with EF enjoy the ability to choose their own work-from-home schedule, ability to bring their own teaching style to our custom-designed classroom and receive local, US and UK-based support and payment. Teachers with EF earn up to $20 per hour.

3. Teach Part-Time

Teach Part-Time was created to connect qualified readers from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom with real online English teaching opportunities from legitimate EdTech firms.

If you hold a Bachelor's degree, you can earn $14-25/hr (USD) to teach kids English online from home. Subscribe for job alerts, teacher tips & more ways to make money.

4. QKids

Description: QKids is another opportunity to teach students the English language.  QKids' screening process is unique to other platforms. This tutoring service requires video demos of an applicant's teaching techniques.

Required Qualifications: Those who wish to apply to teach with QKids must have a Bachelor's Degree. The organization also has a preference for those who have an English Teaching Certificate (such as the TESOL, TEFL, CELTA, ESL). Additionally, candidates must be available for a minimum of 6 hours weekly and work for a 6-month contract period.

Hourly Earning Potential: Up to $16-$20/hour

Subjects Offered: Tutors must teach English to non-speakers.

5. Preply

Description: Preply is a language learning service. This service offers individuals the opportunity to teach a foreign language to students who are not fluent.  Through reviews from current students and an online profile, tutors can promote their services to new students.

Required Qualifications: Tutors do not need to have any specific qualifications. The website states that applicants should have a passion for teaching. The detailed application process does request particular information on a candidate's experience or certifications.

Hourly Earning Potential: Candidates can set their hourly rate for their services. The site states that the most popular tutors make up to $550/weekly. It's important to note that the fee for using the Preply platform is that 100% of your earnings from your first lesson with a student go to Preply.

Subjects Offered: While language tutoring is the primary offering through Preply, other topics are also available. Tutors can offer services in a variety of subjects or hobbies.

6. Magic Ears

Description: Magic Ears is an English learning platform for children, ages 4-12. Additionally, tutoring sessions may include several students at a time.

Required Qualifications: Potential tutors must undergo a multi-step hiring process. This includes undergoing training and providing a demonstration video for review. While the site does not state any other requirements, it does mention that teachers or those who have taught in the past will have hiring preference.

Hourly Earning Potential: $22-$26/hour

Subjects Offered: Tutors must teach English to non-speakers.

7. WyzAnt

Description: WyzAnt offers to tutor students of any age. Tutors create a WyzAnt profile, and students can review and select a tutor whose experience and price best fit their needs.

Required Qualifications: Tutors must be at least 18 years old and live in the United States. They must also have a valid Social Security Number. Tutors do not have to have teaching experience.

Hourly Earning Potential: WyzAnt allows tutors to establish their rates.

Subjects Offered: Over 300 Subjects, from English to Zoology.


Description: Chegg offers individuals the opportunity to provide tutoring services in a lot of subject areas. Like VIPKid, your schedule can be flexible, and you can teach from anywhere. A unique quality worth noting about Chegg is that your online profile rating and reputation will assist you with gaining more clients. This enables you to increase your earning potential through positive feedback from students.

Required Qualifications: All potential hires must have previous experience as a teacher or tutor. There is a preference for those who have taught at the middle school, high school, or collegiate level. Additionally, candidates must have a Bachelors's degree and a Facebook account or email address to verify their identity. Finally, if you wish to offer services in a specific subject area, you may have to take a competency test.

Hourly Earning Potential: Up to $20/hour

Subjects Offered: Subjects include everything from Astrophysics to Voice Lessons.

9. Kaplan Test Prep Instructor

Description: While most Kaplan teachers teach in classroom settings, but Kaplan also offers opportunities for teachers to teach online. Kaplan's online teaching program helps the student improve their test scores. Find teaching jobs online with Kaplan.

Required Qualifications: Depending on the test you are teaching, you may have a wide variety of qualifications. For example, if you want to be an MCAT prep instructor, you must be in the 90th percentile of MCAT scores, inspire highly motivated students to achieve better scores, create a safe learning space for students to enhance their testing abilities.

Hourly Earning Potential: Rates may vary by position. But it can be a great way to earn extra money.

Subjects Offered: Test prep for a wide range of standardized tests

10. Tutor.com

Description: Find plenty of online tutoring positions with Tutors.com. Whether you want to work part-time, full-time, or make extra money. From math tutoring jobs to business tutoring jobs, Tutors.com may have an online tutoring job for you.

Required Qualifications: While each tutoring position's requirements and qualifications may vary, there are a few things you need to accomplish to become a certified tutor. You need to have a high school degree or GED, complete tutoring training, join a tutoring association, earn your tutoring certification, and get licensed (optional)

Hourly Earning Potential: You can make up to $50 an hour by teaching science, social studies, math, conventional English, and more.

Subjects Offered: Tutoring subjects vary, but some may include: math, English, science, computers, liberal arts, social studies, health, home, and more.

11. goFluent

Description: Find online English tutoring jobs with goFluent. goFluent primarily focuses on English in both one on one setting and group lessons. So, if you want to teach English online, goFluent may be right up your alley. goFluent hires native English teachers from America, Canada, British citizens, and even some individuals from the Philippines. If you want to work remotely, you may find a job with this company.

Required Qualifications: While requirements may vary, must job tend to require some form of college education, business or corporate experience, must speak English as a native language, must have a stable internet connection, must have computer and typing skills, and training experience is a plus.

Hourly Earning Potential: You can earn up to $15 an hour by teaching English online.

Subjects Offered: English

12. TutorMe

Description: Find flexible online tutoring jobs with TutorMe. Choose from over 300 subjects you can teach students. You can teach everything from calculus to python, to the piano. All you have to do is apply and meet their requirements. Then you will be connected with students and begin creating lesson plans. TutorMe is the perfect platform for finding online tutoring jobs.

Required Qualifications: To qualify you must have tutoring or teaching experience, mastery of subjects you would like to teach, be enrolled or have graduated from a college or university, and must be over 18 years old.

Hourly Earning Potential: You can earn at least $16 an hour with bonuses.

Subjects Offered: English

13. PrepNow Tutoring

Description: You can find online tutor jobs with PreNow Tutoring. Whether you want to help students prepare for their SATs or get better math grades, PreNow Tutoring may have a job for you. By using innovative technology, you can tutor children in the comforts of your own home.

Required Qualifications: To qualify, you must have at least two years of teaching or tutoring experience and a college or university degree. You must also need to composite 28 on the ACT or 650 on the SAT Math and SAT Verbal. Must also have 6 hours available during nights and weekends.

Hourly Earning Potential: Your pay may vary depending on the tutoring jobs you apply for.

Subjects Offered:  SAT prep, ACT prep, math, chemistry, French, writing, Spanish, physics.

14. Study.com

Description: Study.com is an online platform that helps everyone from high school students to teaches study. From taking an online course to earning credit and degrees, study.com has you covered. Study.com is one of the many online education companies hiring. They are looking for people with teaching and education experience to create lesson plans for their platform.

Required Qualifications: Since there are many different online jobs available, they may require different qualifications. For example, the Academic Expert position requires English proficiency and expertise in science, history, social science, psychology, and humanities.

Hourly Earning Potential: Your pay may vary depending on the job you apply for.

Subjects Offered:  Study.com offers a wide range of topics, course, credit, and degrees.

15. Tutapoint.com

Description: TutaPoint.com partners with tutors from around the U.S. to ensure students receive the best learning experience possible. They work with certified and retired teachers, professors, teaching assistants, and more to meet a high standard of education.

Required Qualifications: To see if you qualify, all applicants must fill out a 20-minute application. You will also need to submit a short video introduction to introduce yourself.

Hourly Earning Potential: You may make about $14 per hour.

Subjects Offered:  Math, sciences, language arts, social studies, world languages, and more.

16. Homework Tutoring

Description: If you're looking for online teach jobs, you may be in luck. Homework Tutoring helps students improve their proficiency in subjects, including biology, English, math, statistics, and more. This fast and convenient tutoring platform allows students from all over to connect with professionally trained tutors.

Required Qualifications: Currently, Homework Tutoring is looking for people to help with subjects, including engineering: history, and law.

Hourly Earning Potential: While pay is not explicitly listed on the site, you may make between $5 and $20 an hour.

Subjects Offered:  Biology, chemistry, economics, electronics, English, math, statistics, physics, and programming.

17. Connections Academy

Description: Connections Academy is an online tuition-free K-12 school. Students can receive a public education right from their couch. The coursework and exams surpass national and state standards for public education. The organization also tries to find creative ways to keep students engaged.

Required Qualifications: Currently, Connections Academy has a variety of online teaching positions available. So, whether you live in New York or Ohio, you can find a remote position. Qualifications will vary depending on the job you apply for.

Hourly Earning Potential: Pay will vary depending on your qualifications and the job you apply for.

Subjects Offered: All subjects required to pass K through 12th grade.

18. Aim-for-A Tutoring

Description: Aim-for-A Tutoring is an online division of Aim Academics. As part of their organization, they offer online tutoring to the student all over the world. They also hire internationally. As a tutor, you can work part-time, full-time, or make a little extra income on the side.

Required Qualifications: Teaching certificate is a desirable trait for all applicants. They also look for those who are willing to work nights and weekends, have a computer with speakers, and stable internet connection. Also, some subjects require a digital tablet with a pen mouse.

Hourly Earning Potential: Pay will vary depending on your qualifications and the job you apply for.

Subjects Offered: Math, science, English, language arts, and other subjects

19. Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY)

Description: Johns Hopkins Center for the Talented Youth is the world leader in gifted education. They are dedicated to developing the talents and skills of the young around the world. They serve learners through their research, advocacy, and counseling and offer summer, online, international, and family programs.

Required Qualifications:  If you're interested in online employment from CTY, you can apply for their summer programs, online offerings, or another job listing. Qualification may vary by actual position.

Hourly Earning Potential: Pay will vary depending on your qualifications and the job you apply for.

Subjects Offered: Summer, online, international, and family programs

20. K12

Description: K12 provides online education for students from pre-K through 12th grade. K12 offers three main solutions for online learning, public schooling, private schooling, and supplemental courses. Students can receive support from their teachers via phone, online meetings, and on occasion in person.

Required Qualifications: Just like many other positions, K12 may have different requirements depending on the type of job you apply. For example, if you apply for the science teaching position, you need a teaching certificate, transcript, performance evaluations, state assessment data, and reference letter.

Hourly Earning Potential: Pay will vary depending on your qualifications and the job you apply for.

Subjects Offered: K through 12 courses

21. Pearson Smarthinking

Description: Pearson offers tutoring opportunities up to the Graduate level. If you're interested in a chance with this organization, you'll find access to all their available positions through an online job board. However, be mindful that Pearson does not limit its offerings to online tutoring. So, when searching their open jobs, you'll want to enter in the key term "remote."

Pearson Smarthinking offers online tutoring, writing help, and resume review. Their priority is to help students get a better education or advance in their careers.

Required Qualifications: Smarthinking is looking for online tutors with master's degrees, PhDs, or other advanced certifications. They feel like the extra experience will help them add to their team of dynamic and diverse teachers. While it is not listed as needed, Pearson's website boasts that most of their tutors have a Master's degree or Ph.D. Additionally, tutors need to be available for a minimum of 8 hours/weekly.

Hourly Earning Potential: Pay will vary depending on your qualifications and the job you apply for. A recent estimate states that a Pearson tutor makes a median wage of between $11-$12 per hour.

Subjects Offered: Everything imaginable from the elementary to graduate level. More than 150 subject offerings

Alternative Online Tutor Jobs

22. Upwork

Upwork– The popular freelance job posting site, Upwork, has several listings for online tutors. Upwork is an excellent place to find less common or more technical tutoring positions, such as Physics, Economics, Architecture, and college-level courses.

23. Symposium

Symposium– Most tutoring jobs require a Bachelor's degree or even higher education. If you are looking to make some extra income and lack the credentials for some tutoring positions, Symposium could be the perfect fit. The Symposium app allows anyone with experience an opportunity to monetize their expertise via either one-to-one coaching or one-to-many.

Since Symposium allows for one-to-many presentations, it is possible to make $100/hr or more, plus tips!

Some benefits of Symposium

  • Work Remotely (Only requires a smartphone and internet connection)
  • Flexible Schedule (You set your schedule)
  • Part-Time (Work as much or a little as you like)

If you picked up your experience in the board room and not the classroom, Symposium is the perfect educational technology company for you.

Guide to Online Tutoring 

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Tutor

If you're burned out on your 9-5, or you're looking for a part-time job to earn some extra money, consider becoming a tutor online. There are a plethora of reasons for you to review the opportunity, and we've outlined the most important ones for your consideration.

Work-Life Balance

It's not a huge secret that the work-life balance equation has become less of a balance and more of an unequal scale that tips farther on the work side. Between longer hours, increased commute times, and required work travel, some professionals are burnt out on the whole endeavor.  It's why so many people are starting to consider legit work from home opportunities.

When it comes to work-life balance, it's safe to assume that there will always be demands that you have to accommodate. However, when you remove some of the aspects that are within your control (such as a commute), you can create a more equally balanced scale.

Becoming an online tutor is a work from home opportunity that may be just the solution you are looking for. With flexible hours and no commute, you can regain some of the balance you've been looking for in your career. You can adjust your schedule to fit your family's needs, while still generating an income. Taking the step to create a happier life for yourself, by changing your professional career, may start with becoming an online tutor.

Supplemental Income

If you're looking for ways to increase your income, tutor jobs are an excellent option to consider. Not only is online tutoring a job you can do from home, but it's also a gig that will enable you to make good money.  The work is flexible for most of the job opportunities, which means you have the choice to make as little or as much as you want in your spare time.

If you choose to pursue the opportunity to tutor from home, you will be able to capitalize on the times you're not at your 9-5. Adding a side hustle to your schedule may negate the whole concept of work-life balance. But, if you require reliable income, the sacrifices you'll have to make will be worth the financial reward.

How Much Do Online Tutors Make?

If you hold a Bachelor's degree, most companies start new hires between $12-14/hr (USD). Many of the companies polled report that $20-26/hr is possible, as a tutor builds up experience.  Tutors often increase their rate through referrals or teaching in-demand specialty subjects, in which case some tutors report that $50-100+/hr is possible. 

Can You Make a Living as an Online Tutor?

Like most ways to make money online or earn extra money, it is possible to turn your tutoring side hustle into a full-time gig. However, before you hand in your resignation to make a full-time living as a tutor, you should build up some experience with several of the best online tutoring platforms. Teaching on several sites will help provide some stability in case of listings at one company drying up. 

Reliable Employers

When you're looking for remote jobs, it can become complicated to avoid scammers.  A lot of companies that endorse they will "make you your own boss" are pyramid schemes. These are operations that will very rarely help you turn a profit.

It's even more challenging to find a way to make money from home on a part-time basis.

Online jobs, while becoming more commonplace, are still inundated with scams and false promises. Becoming a home tutor safeguards you from these ploys. It also enables you to make the extra money from home that you need. You can establish yourself as a freelancer who works for a credible organization.

You may decide to stick with tutoring from home or branch into other fields that allow you to work remotely. In either circumstance, starting with an online tutoring company will provide you with a safe introduction to the world of virtual employment.

Qualifications to Become an Online Tutor

Every online tutoring organization is looking for something different. Some are seeking native English speakers to educate children in foreign countries. Others want to capitalize on your area of expertise to provide online tutoring for students who need help with test prep.  Some want translators who can help adults sharpen their foreign language skills. Whatever the case, there are a few qualifications that seem to be in demand across the board.

College Degree

Most online tutoring organizations want you to have a college degree. A few platforms offer opportunities with no experience necessary. But, the majority of organizations are looking for educators who have a degree from a 4-year, accredited college. Some of the platforms are seeking applicants with expanded knowledge in a specific subject. For example, if you have an interest in becoming an English tutor or online English teacher, having a degree in that subject would benefit you.

Some online tutoring platforms offer their services to students in higher education if you're interested in working at this more advanced level of tutoring than you will need either a Masters or Ph.D. in a field of your expertise to offer your services.

High-Speed Internet Connection

The second (and a very obvious) qualification is that you have a high-speed Internet connection. If you can't connect consistently with your students, you won't be able to work at home as an online tutor. While this may require you to make an initial investment, it will be worth the price to make money online.

It may also be pertinent to note that you will need a reliable desktop or laptop computer. Some of the online platforms encourage their employees to work from anywhere. When they offer this flexibility, they do so with the understanding that you will have a working laptop and a good Wi-Fi connection. Reliability is a massive value in the online tutoring community, and you're expected to uphold your end of the bargain.

Online Payment Capabilities

You will need an established method of accepting payment. Whether you prefer to receive compensation via PayPal, or you prefer direct deposit to your bank account, you will need to have some online method of accepting payment to work as an online tutor.

Interest & Passion

It's easy to become caught up in the idea of a flexible schedule and a remote work opportunity. It's important to remember that if you want to become an online tutor, you should have an interest and a passion for teaching. As is with any job, the work is not going to be easy, and you're going to have both good and bad days.

Working with children and students can be a rewarding career path. It can also be a difficult one. Not every student will be the ideal intellectual who is eager for your help. You will need to learn techniques to assist you in working with the ones who are less passionate about their tutoring.

Make sure, before you apply to be an online tutor, that the reason you're pursuing the opportunity is to help others. If you're not interested in the opportunity for that foundational reason, you are setting yourself up for failure. Before you commit to working as a remote online tutor, check-in with yourself, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

How to Become an Online Tutor

If we've convinced you to take the leap and teach online at home, there are a few simple steps you'll need to take. First, you'll need to find the platform that best suits your background and experience. With so many companies that promote working from anywhere as a tutor, how will you know which is the best one to pursue employment with?

We've taken the hard work out of this equation and completed the research for you. Keep reading to learn about the seven best online tutoring opportunities available to you. We'll give you an overview of the qualifications required, the hourly earning potential, and a glimpse of the types of subjects offered.

Whether you're looking for a side gig to supplement your full-time income or a new career, there is a tutoring opportunity for you, and we've found them!

Additional Resources to Become an Online Tutor

If you have the drive to work from home as an online tutor, but not the background and experience, there are plenty of solutions. Don't put aside your dream of joining one of the best work from home jobs available. Put on your thinking hat, brush up your study skills, and use some of the excellent resources available. They will not only help you pursue your dreams, but they will also afford the expertise that you can use in your daily life.

Training Courses

Udemy is an online platform that offers a variety of educational courses. The site has a specific section of their website dedicated to teaching and learning. You can sharpen your skills in a subject area as well as learn techniques to become an effective tutor.

While these courses do cost money, the price is nominal in comparison to the income you can generate when you become an online tutor.

Public Speaking Assistance

If you feel like you freeze up in front of the camera, you're not alone. Many people suffer from an inability to "perform" once they realize they're in front of an audience. Even the most accomplished English speakers sometimes find they lose their ability to speak and formulate coherent sentences.

YouTube is a great resource to use to help you brush up on your public speaking skills. There are a ton of video tutorials that will teach you to speak with confidence. There are exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine that will prepare you for your onscreen debut.

Expanding Online Knowledge

One area we've failed to address is the computerized aspect of online tutoring. Even if your focus is to become an English tutor to students who use English as their second language, you will have to have an excellent working knowledge of computers and the online community.

Your trouble areas may be as simple as your typing speed. If you want to improve your ability to type and communicate on a computer, you can use this free tool from TypingClub. This will help increase your data entry capabilities so that you can work with students in a more efficient manner.

If your needs are more complicated, you may consider engaging the assistance of a friend or family member. Give your friend, who is an Internet connectivity expert a call via phone, and let him know about your interest in improving your knowledge. You will find an extensive support system if you ask for the help you need. Your friends and family will be more than willing to assist you in gaining future employment.

The Bottom Line

The era of online tutoring is upon us. Students have access to dozens of resources to enable them to succeed in the classroom or in learning a new language.

Likewise, if you want to become a tutor, the opportunities to start a successful business are plentiful. With the ability to set your schedule, pay rate, and decide what subject areas you offer, it has never been easier to provide educational services. Whether you want to make tutoring a side gig, or your full-time job, you can start your own tutoring business from the comfort of your home.

The resources available to assist you with your online tutoring career are also abundant. If you wish to pursue the opportunity to teach from home, you can achieve the education and experience you need online. If you're inspired to pursue online teaching, you can earn your education degree online through several accredited programs. From there, you can seek a career as an online teacher.

Teaching and tutoring are unique callings. Online education is a great way to make some extra money or create an at-home work opportunity. However, it also requires you to have an interest and passion for helping others. If you feel like you're one of the individuals who find purpose in assisting others in the field of education, navigate your options in the online tutoring arena, it may be the perfect field for your next big career move.

About the Author

Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.

The Man Who Runs 365 Marathons a Year - Outside

Posted: 29 Apr 2020 07:09 PM PDT

No superhero works in a vacuum—we all need a little inspiration. Shattuck idolizes and tries to model himself after Marcus Luttrell, the former Navy SEAL who was the inspiration behind the Hollywood film Lone Survivor, and David Goggins, another former SEAL, who has completed more than 60 ultra-endurance events and wrote the bestseller Can't Hurt Me. Goggins is a regular on Luttrell's Team Never Quit podcast.

To follow the path of Luttrell and Goggins, one has to have a certain tendency toward masochism: "I motivate myself with dark images, like me at the bottom of a sewer. That image makes me very strong," Goggins says in one podcast interview. "Motivation is not enough. Motivation is crap. You need passion." 

Shattuck certainly has the latter. During our initial phone call, his voice broke as he relayed the hardships Luttrell survived in Afghanistan. "These servicemen and women—what they do, what they go through, they break their bodies and they keep going," he sobbed. "Like Marcus, I made the decision a long time ago that I'm not going to quit. I am never going to quit."

Shattuck's emotional response surprised me, especially since he has never been in the military. But as we run through the countryside, I soon realize that his same intensity bubbles to the surface with most everything he does. He tells me about his "pace pyramids," a psychological boost he uses on his least motivated days to get through the miles, running nine at a 15-minute pace, eight at a 14-minute pace, and so on until he's done. ("If I start out slow enough," he says, "I just don't quit.") Then he relays his vegan period, a phase during which he ingested 25 scoops of a green superfood powder per day, a habit he had to stop because he got so wired that, he says, "I felt like I was drinking electricity."

As the miles tick off on our loop of Ripon, Shattuck's inspirational quotes give way to a darker past. In high school, he ran cross-country but was also a "party animal" who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and raged all night, using alcohol, and later cocaine, to extremes. He still managed to go to college and graduate from UW-Stevens Point with a degree in social science. After school he worked in various accounting positions in Madison while continuing to party. He ran during those years but not enough to combat the excess. By 2004, his previously lithe six-foot-one-inch, 150-pound frame had ballooned to 240 pounds. 

"I was a pack-a-day marathoner," he jokes. In 2006, he ran the Chicago Marathon in 3:09:31, just 29 seconds under the cutoff to qualify for Boston, which he completed two years later with his brother, Steve. (Their sister, Alison Dawson, still holds the two-mile record at Ripon High School and earned a Division I track and cross-country scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.) 

Shattuck's partying life abruptly ended in 2013, he says, after a person close to him went on a drug binge that nearly killed him. With that wake-up call, he doubled down on the natural endorphin highs he got from running, eventually increasing his mileage to 50- and 100-mile ultras. Then, in the summer of 2018, a friend from high school died from alcohol poisoning. 

"The guy drank himself to death," he says. In the aftermath, Shattuck dreamed up the 26 Days of Christmas, an effort to run a marathon every day for 26 days straight, starting on November 30, 2018. Shortly after, in mid-December, Shattuck was fired from his job as a senior financial specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Losing his job hit him hard. 

"I crumbled as bad as you could imagine," he says. "I could not fucking stop crying. I didn't realize how much of my identity was tied up in that job." 

He stopped sleeping much, getting just one to three hours each night. But he continued to run his marathons, often starting at 3 or 4 A.M. During those early-morning jogs, he fantasized about how he could end his life without his family suspecting suicide. He started to break down in tears at the slightest provocation. The suicidal thoughts became a near constant presence in his mind. He made a plan to head west to the mountains and "accidentally" get lost on a run, disappearing off the face of the earth. 

One of the only things that stopped him, he says, was a Team Never Quit podcast with U.S. Marine Dakota Meyer, who received the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 36 U.S. soldiers and allies in Afghanistan in 2009. A year later, a drunk Meyer pulled his Glock out of his truck's glove compartment and tried to kill himself. The pistol was unloaded. Meyer subsequently sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder. 

"Jesus Christ, man," Shattuck told me. "If someone like that doesn't fucking end it, I thought, I can't end it either." 

But Shattuck was freaked out by the twists and turns of his own mind. "It was clear I needed fucking immediate help." 

That December, he called an after-hours clinic in Madison. The nurse referred him to a doctor who later diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and prescribed an antipsychotic drug.

When Shattuck finished the last marathon of his 26 Days project on Christmas morning, he couldn't find a legitimate reason to quit. So, like the Forrest Gump cliché, he kept on running. "26.2 miles is My New Baseline," he wrote on Strava, on December 26, 2018, deciding at that point to run a marathon a day for the rest of his life. He divested his retirement account—about $5,000—into a year's worth of running shoes, protein powder, and other incidentals. (He also looked for sponsorship but didn't have any luck.) But the cash did nothing for the pounding he took during the unrelenting miles. His shins swelled so much that his lower legs became bigger than his thighs. In January 2019, he got the flu, which caused vomiting and diarrhea. But he kept running. "One day I went out at 12:49 A.M. at minus-25 temperatures and minus-52 windchill to shuffle around on unplowed sidewalks to make sure I could finish," he says. That marathon took him eight hours, but he did it. 

"Complete excess. That's me by nature," he says. Perhaps as a result of the insomnia, Shattuck started having intense hallucinations. 

"I'd be on an early-morning run, and I'd see a woman with a round face smoking a cigarette, and it would turn out it would be a bush," Shattuck says. He had the same vision multiple times, which "scared the shit out of me." He quit his medication and eventually moved back to Ripon to live with his retired parents.


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