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Marathon Challenge 1x57

What does it take for any reasonably fit person to compete in one of the world’s toughest road races? NOVA finds out in Marathon, a one-hour special that’s both reality-TV and an intriguing scientific exploration of the way our bodies respond to punishing demands. Every year thousands of athletes from across the globe flock to Boston to run the city’s marathon, known worldwide as an ultimate test of stamina and endurance. In the spring of 2007, NOVA will follow six hopeful novices as they train to compete in the following year’s 26-mile race. Over that year-long period, top athletic coaches, doctors, and nutritionists will turn these wannabes into fit, focused competitors. Using vivid CGI, NOVA tracks the enormous changes that take place inside their bodies, from the swings between high energy and exhaustion to depression and euphoria. How does their grueling schedule conflict with the demands of work, family, and friends, and how does one sort out a maze of confusing advice about the right kind of diet? As the race looms, the runners express their mounting hopes, frustrations and fears, until they finally face the lonely battle in the mass of runners en route to Boston.