Legend has it that a Greek messenger named Philippides ran the entire distance from a battlefield in Marathon to Athens in order to report that the Persians had been defeated. According to Wikipedia, “it is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming … ‘we have won!’ … before collapsing and dying.” (This, we now know, was the 490 BC version of getting tired of all the winning.) Compared to some modern-day marathon runners, Philippides may have gotten off easy. At least he didn’t have to get up and train again the next morning. The marathon’s origin story may seem hard to believe. But it’s not nearly as fantastical as the idea that a human being could actually complete the 26.2 mile race in under two hours. But that’s just what Nike and a few handpicked runners are trying to do. From Runner’s World: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Nike is Trying to Break the 2-Hour Marathon Barrier.

+ Wired has an excellent, short video that helps puts a top marathoner’s running pace into perspective. Basically, start sprinting and see how long you can keep it up. Even pretty experienced daily runners and weekend warriors have a hard time keeping up the required pace for more than a minute.

+ These runners may want to drop a few F-bombs along the route. According to a recent study, swearing makes you stronger.