- Who supports the runners? 5. What it is like to run a marathon?
- How it started? 6. How to get ready for a marathon?
- How to be sure of the winners? 7. Who runs just for fun?
- What to wear for a marathon? 8. Can the landscape help?
A. Many cities in the United States hold marathons. The city of Chicago, Illinois, has its marathon once a year. The running area in Chicago is almost absolutely flat. The scenery is amazingly beautiful. This fact has helped some runners set some of the world’s fastest times there. Many of them hope to go back again.
B. Some people know that they have no chance of winning but they participate anyway. They are not officially registered for the race — they just start running with the crowd. These runners are called “bandits.” Many of them finish the race hours after the serious runners but they are happy to cross the finish line anyway.
C. An important battle took place in Marathon in Greece more than two thousand years ago. Greece’s army won the battle. A Greek runner was sent to Athens to announce the victory. The man ran for about 40 km at top speed. He announced his message. Then he fell to the ground and died. In memory of the great runner a marathon was included in the Olympic Games.
D. Recently, a British writer and journalist, Mario Roter, ran in a marathon. He thought it would be fun to write an article about what people felt during the race. Later he said that running forty-two kilometers was no fun. Many people agree that there is no pleasure in running a marathon, but afterwards it feels great to know that you have done it.
E. People usually start training for a marathon in early spring. They run often and gradually increase the length of their runs from eight to twelve and even to twenty kilometers. At this point it is necessary to build up the needed strength. In the months before the race, the average participant runs a total of more than eight hundred kilometers.
F. Usually there are lots of runners. The line of people stretches back hundreds of meters. As the winners are awarded prize money it is important to avoid cheating. In order to track all the participants, special chips are used. When the participants register for the marathon, they get their identification number and computer chips. The chips are activated at the start of the race and keep time.
G. A marathon is usually a big public event. In the city where the marathon is held hundreds of people give their time and effort to make the race possible. The city police block traffic on the main roads. Some runners thank the officers as they run by. Every few kilometers there are volunteers who offer water to the runners. Lots of people cheer.