With the Write-A-Thon right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about marathons. I could probably never run one–I have trouble making it up the stairs to miss the train–but there are people in this world who CHOOSE to run 26 miles and 385 yards without stopping for bathroom, food, or naps. That blows my mind. I’ll stick to marathons of the writing variety, please.
So where did this feat of endurance even originate? Greece, obviously. Legend has it that a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Greeks had defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). Not surprisingly, the story ends with the exhausted man flinging his body through the doors of the Greek assembly exclaiming “WE WON!” right before collapsing into a heap…and then dying. Robert Browning’s poem Pheidippides details the event as only Robert Browning could (“Run, Pheidippides, one race more! the meed is thy due!”) but for some less poetic info on what this crazy test of strength entails, here’s a video.
Write a story in which a character runs all 26.2 miles of a marathon. Use first person narration for a stream-of-consciousness feel, or third to integrate more characters. Use miles as incremental markers for the readers. Does this character make it through the finish line? Do they live to tell the tale? And don’t forget to sign up for our Write-a-Thon to complete your very own marathon.