Get the key ideas from

Two Hours

The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon

By Ed Caesar
13-minute read
Audio available
Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon by Ed Caesar

Two Hours (2015) is about the world of international professional running. It offers background information on the sport and explains why so many great marathon runners come from Kenya, with a focus on Geoffrey Mutai, an athlete known for a string of record-breaking wins and his innovative running technique.

  • Marathon runners and other athletes
  • Physiologists
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about professional running

Ed Caesar is a nonfiction writer whose work has been featured in the New York Times and the Smithsonian. Two Hours is his first book.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Two Hours

The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon

By Ed Caesar
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon by Ed Caesar
Synopsis

Two Hours (2015) is about the world of international professional running. It offers background information on the sport and explains why so many great marathon runners come from Kenya, with a focus on Geoffrey Mutai, an athlete known for a string of record-breaking wins and his innovative running technique.

Key idea 1 of 8

Marathon running dates back to ancient Greece.

If you think it’s strenuous to ride your bike to work, be thankful you weren’t born in ancient Greece!

Back then, you might have had to run long distances as a profession. According to the foundation myth of the modern day marathon, in 490 BC, an Athenian messenger named Pheidippides had to run to Sparta to ask for support against the Persian invasion at the settlement of Marathon.

It’s said that Pheidippides had to cover 150 miles in two days. Then when the Greek army won the battle, he was sent on a 25-mile trip back to Athens to deliver the news. Legend has it that he said, “Joy to you, we have won,” then collapsed and died from exhaustion.

It’s unknown if Pheidippides’s story is historically accurate, but it inspired the organizers of the first Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896. They included the marathon race in the official program. It was a success but later fell from popularity. In both the 1900 Paris Olympics and the 1904 Saint Louis Olympics, some long-distance runners were found to have cheated by taking shortcuts. The sport’s reputation suffered as a result.

Marathon running didn’t become widespread until the mid-1970s, with the introduction of city marathons.

In October 1976, the first city marathon was organized in New York City. It marked the beginning of professional running, as some athletes were paid for participating in the event. Unlike the Olympics, however, city marathons were open to all comers, which turned the sport into a community event.

In 1976, Bill Rodgers made $3,000 by winning the New York marathon, and the sport has been popular ever since. In 2013, Mo Farah won over a million dollars for his performance in the London race.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.