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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Marathon Challenge (review)

It’s like Survivor if PBS did it, as one of the regular-joe participants notes: What does it take to become a marathon runner, and can anyone do it? This installment of the long-running PBS series Nova, which first aired last October, takes 13 sedentary people — many of them overweight and out of shape, and few of whom were able to run even a short distance — and puts them through the paces of training, nine months of it, for the 2007 Boston Marathon. But unlike network “reality” shows, this one is not about public humiliation and oneupsmanship but personal trial and scientific reality: How do our bodies rise to meet the challenge of intense training? Are extreme athletes really different, physiologically speaking, than the rest of us? What internal psychological resources do we draw on when we dare to push ourselves further than we ever have before? Both technically fascinating and personally inspiring, this is a highly intriguing hour of TV documentary. Also included on the disc as a DVD-ROM extra are teaching materials in PDF format. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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