The Most Boring—and Spiritual—Olympic Sport

Bethany Jenkins | August 19, 2016

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I can’t imagine an Olympic sport more boring to watch than the marathon, which takes place this weekend.* For more than two hours, runners slog through 26.2 miles—only to have an anti-climactic ending. (They’re not usually neck and neck, like in swimming or sprinting.)

Watching distance running on TV is so boring that someone argued, “Even Forrest Gump required a montage of the infamous running scene because seeing Tom Hanks travel on foot across the country in real time is not something people would pay to see.”

But TV doesn’t do justice to the physical intensity and endurance required to finish—let alone win—a marathon. 

Two weeks ago I ran one of the most difficult marathons in the world, the San Francisco Marathon—a fact that I didn’t discover until after I finished. Apparently it’s America’s toughest big city run, and The Wall Street Journal dubs it “the race even marathoners fear.” The course was breathtaking, but the hills…

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