NOVA: The Marathon Challenge

NOVA: The Marathon Challenge

Director: Daniel McCabe Cast: Liev Schreiber, Julia Cort

DVD (Letterbox)


For millions of marathon runners worldwide, Patriots Day looms steadily and prominently on the horizon; such is the pivotal day when untold numbers journey to Boston, Massachusetts to participate in the legendary, 26.2 mile Boston Marathon. As produced by WGBH - Boston public television and directed by Daniel McCabe, the documentary NOVA: The Marathon Challenge cross-cuts between the lives of 13 Boston Marathon trainees as they psych themselves up for the "big run" during the 2007 event; the program undertakes an unusual approach, however, by specifically honing in on the underdogs - participants who are less than fit (and who lead sedentary lifestyles), but who nevertheless determine to whip their bodies into top shape for the said event despite the many obstacles and challenges that stand in their way.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/12/2008
UPC: 0783421422599
Original Release: 2007
Source: Wgbh
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Letterbox]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 0:54:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Printable materials for educators; Access to the NOVA web site; Described video for the visually impaired

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Marathon Challenge
1. Introduction [2:37]
2. Safe to Train? [11:47]
3. Mounting Injuries [10:47]
4. Born to Run [16:05]
5. The Big Day [12:33]

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NOVA: The Marathon Challenge 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
buckaroobanzai More than 1 year ago
Is it possible for virtually anyone interested in taking on the challenge to complete a marathon? This is the question that Tufts University researchers sought to answer in this engaging Nova film project. Test subjects were not selected randomly but had to be willing to submit to an application process. Those chosen were from varying backgrounds with the common prerequisite of living a mostly sedentary lifestyle. The trial takes place over a nine month period with subjects undergoing extensive medical testing before and at intervals throughout this period. They also recieved the aid of a Tufts track coach and 3-time Boston Marathon champion Uta Pippig who, to me, was the star of the video. The medical aid, body-composition analysis, and max VO2 tests will make most runners envious. The scientific analysis of the changes that take place in the body during training, is fascinating and reason enough alone to want to view this film but it also contains enough human interest in portraying the struggles of the individual runners to keep it from being too dry and boring. I would like to have been given more information about the training that subjects did on their own beyond the weekly supervised and supported runs detailed in the film but the running scenes are mostly effective. Both veteran and beginning runners will find humor and sympathetic identification in the struggles portrayed here. We can argue the merits of enticing and encouraging what would be an unwise leap to go directly from non-runner to marathoner in less than a year but this case can be excused for what it is: a scientific experiment portrayed on film. It would have been interesting to have a follow up, say a year later, to see how many of the 12 subjects were still running. Overall I think most runners would enjoy this film, originally aired as one hour television show, and be both informed and entertained. Given the paucity of film of any kind dedicated to our sport this is a rare gem.