The future of the marathon42

Often people say they will never run a marathon again. During or after the race they say that this is their last marathon. Then after four days they start thinking about their next marathon.

In ten or twenty years, people will regard the marathon the way we regard a ten-mile race today. People will consider forty miles or seventy miles or a hundred miles as long distance. Long distances will be as popular as the marathon is today. People will pay more attention to fifty-milers and hundred-milers.

Now people are doing so well in the marathon. In four or five years the best runners will run the marathon in under two hours. In twenty or thirty years people will run at a five-minute pace for fifty or a hundred miles. The children of people who are running the marathon now will run at the present marathon pace for thirty or forty miles, and then even farther. They will have such stamina. Sports are like that. Roger Bannister’s four-minute-mile record lasted for years. Then the hundred-metre record stayed for years. Jesse Owens’ long-jump record stayed for twenty years before it was broken by Bob Beamon. But ultimately all records are broken.

RB 699. 24 January 1983