Weekly Feature


A Run by Any Other Name: The Allure of the Marathon

October 29, 2007
by findingDulcinea Staff
New York gets a double dose of marathon fever this week. The first Sunday in November is the traditional date for the New York City Marathon, which attracts nearly 40,000 runners from around the globe and more than 2 million spectators for the 26.2-mile run through the city’s five boroughs. But to add greatly to the excitement, on Saturday, November 3, the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Qualifier will be run in New York’s Central Park.

History, Heroes, and Mentors

So, you ask, why and how do so many people run marathons? This increasingly popular activity has its roots in ancient Greece, and its long history suggests that no matter how daunting the word 'marathon' sounds, it has a wide, even addictive appeal.

At a daunting 26.2 miles, the first New York City Marathon, in 1970, drew only 100 contestants. But increased promotion of the health benefits, potential for charity involvement, and team camaraderie, along with a spike in the popularity of a cousin sport, triathlons, have made completing a marathon like New York both desired and attainable. This week we take a look at the lore behind the sport, and bring you a selection of training tips, inspiration, tools, essays, and interviews. Whether you are an aspiring first-time marathoner, a long-distance veteran, a world-class competitor, or an impassioned spectator, this feature offers something for you.

For more in-depth information about getting into running, see our guide to running, "Runner's Up: The Web Can Help You Go the Distance," which presents links to training tools, injury and health resources, multimedia resources, forums, blogs, and more.
If you’re intrigued by the profusion of marathons around the world, browse AIMS’s race calendar. Cool Running, now a part of the sports networking site Active.com, also has a complete calendar. You can browse by location and event type.

Ordinary Life with a Twist

For the novice, be sure to read the section “Ten Tips from the NOVA Marathon Challenge Training Team”.
Whether you are considering taking up the sport or just supporting someone else, NOVA’s number one tip is “Get the OK.” We’ll be spending time later this week discussing just what “the OK” means and how you can achieve it. Even seasoned marathoners will benefit from some of the nutritional and health advice we’ve uncovered.
Return tomorrow for Part Two, covering some inspiring personal stories and advice from the marathon field.

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