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26 Miles, 385 Yards

26 Miles, 385 Yards

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Earlier today. maple's mama hide caption

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maple's mama

It's Patriots' Day in Massachusetts. As I understand it, there are three ways to celebrate the holiday.

1. You can participate in, or watch, reenactments of important battles from the Revolutionary War (Concord and Lexington).

2. You can festoon your front door with bright flags and buntings

3. You can stand on a Boston sidewalk, holding orange slices and bottles of water, to cheer for endurance athletes.

My brother, an avid runner, is celebrating his second Patriots' Day today. He drove across Massachusetts, from Williamstown to Newton, to watch Robert Cheruiyot, Dire Tune, and some 25,000 other marathoners amble up Heartbreak Hill.

It wasn't as competitive as usual this year, he told me. (The London Marathon was last week, and America's best female marathoners ran yesterday, hoping to qualify for the Olympics.) But the streets were lined with spectators.

On today's program, we're going to talk about the marathon. Who runs them? Why do they do it? (I've asked myself this question over and over again.) And what's the best way to train for one? Marathoners John Bingham and Gabriel Sherman will join us to answer these questions, and field yours.

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The marathon has become a badge of athleticism for hundreds of thousands.... Should it be? If you've run one, we'd love to hear your story.