Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Sports, Documentary
Marathon Challenge — Every year thousands of athletes from across the globe flock to Boston to run the city s marathon, known worldwide as the ultimate test of stamina and endurance. But how do you run 26 miles if you have ... more »
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Superficial Documentary Has Scattered Moments of Interest
Stephan S. | Austin, TX | 12/28/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I ran my first marathon this year and I was looking forward to being inspired and motived by this documentary. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. However, if you're not a runner and want to learn more about what it takes to complete a marathon, you might find parts of this documentary interesting.
Here's the key problem: I'm not sure how the producers expected a 56 minute program to effectively cover the nine month experience of 13 first time marathoners. Very little time and dialogue is devoted to knowing who these people are; we only hear a brief summary of why they want to run. Some of the participants introduced at the begining of the film are almost completely ignored.
The film has some neat graphics that show how the inner workings of the human body during training and this was the strongest part of the film. But I was dismayed by the lack of attention to a training regimen. We're told that the participants ran short runs during the week and then progressively longer ones on the weekend. And? We see fleeting shots of the participants running in the snow and suffering through some injuries, but not much more than that.
I understand this isn't a training video, nor did I expect it to be one... but it would've been much more interesting if the film included how the lifestyle of these runners changed (e.g., eating habits, which are totally ignored), and the impact the training had on their families and loved ones. I also wanted to learn how they worked to increase their speed.
The documentary's brevity prevents the viewer from becoming engaged. When one of the participants has to quit due to injuries sustained while training, she shows up at the end of the film cheering on her fellow team members as they run the marathon. At that point in the film, I had no idea what kind of relationship she had with these people. Was there anyone in particular she bonded with or inspired? In another scene, the overall health of each participant is evaluated and most do very poorly. About 20 minutes later, we see them being re-tested and suddenly their cardiovascular systems are operating at a "superior" level. The film is so condensed that this appears very sudden, and it's awkward.
There's a moving scene at the end of the film when one of the participants, a woman in her 60s, crosses the finish line and breaks down in tears as she's being held presumably by a family member or friend. I turned off the DVD wondering where the story behind that story went. You probably will too.
I have tickets to Spirit of the Marathon which is showing in January. I only hope it's a more interesting portrayal of what being a marathoner is all about."
Inspiring and Interesting!
Loyd E. Eskildson | Phoenix, AZ. | 10/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest marathon, with 20,000 runners participating in 2007. NOVA, with the help of nearby Tufts University experts and a former Boston Marathon, decided to find out if ordinary people (those who might watch, but not even think of entering) could successfully participate with only 9 months of preparation.
Twelve were randomly selected from a much larger number. First they went through basic screening to determine their fat composition (all the women were high in fat composition, though not all were overweight), and heart condition. The latter was assessed through stress testing - one overweight (74 lbs.) woman's wave-pattern was alarming enough that doctors stopped her test. Fortunately, after about two-weeks of preparation they decided she could proceed. (Interesting asides - doctors pointed out that stress testing performance had a strong genetic component, and that those previously in good aerobic condition tended to remain so - even after discontinuing their exercise program.) At this point the group include the previously mentioned considerably overweight woman, a diabetic female, a 13-year HIV veteran male, and others with shin splints and knee problems. Ages ranged from 28 to 60.
After the initial 9 weeks training one female had to drop out because of recurring stress fractures; she was replaced by a 300+ lb. former professional football lineman. It was also interesting to learn that 90% of the participants' aerobic improvement had occurred at this point - thus, running marathons is not required to substantially improve one's physical condition. Another interesting fact was that well-conditioned humans can outrun dogs and horses over a distance - they overheat and fade, while humans cool off more efficiently. It was also pointed out there two types of muscles - one that responds powerfully for a short interval (eg. the football player), and another that has strong endurance (marathon runners).
After five months' training the participants were going ten miles. At the end of training it was twenty - several had problems finishing because their bodies ran out of energy ("hitting the wall") due to not eating enough prior to and during the run.
The good news was that all twelve finished the Boston Marathon itself - despite numerous aches and pains. The bad news is that there was little change in their body fat content or weight - except for the one woman who started out 74 lbs. overweight. She lost 45 lbs.
Bottom Line: We can do it!"