To state the obvious, a marathon is really long. It takes serious fitness, commitment, and will power to complete a 26.2-mile race, and anyone who has completed a marathon can attest to that. But for those of us who don’t run, the distance is so long that it’s hard to grasp just how grueling 26.2 miles can be.
So to help the non-runners understand, we decided to look at just how far the runners will go on Marathon Monday, using every day items (and some not-so-every-day items) for context. But before you click forward, prepare yourself: you’re probably going to feel sore just imagining this race. Next
301,824 Hershey Bars
Chocolate is delicious, but too much of it can give you a stomach ache. That’s why you’re probably better off not eating a marathon’s worth of Hershey bars.
Measuring at 5.5 inches long, it would take 301,824 Hershey bars lined up end-to-end to get to 26.2 miles. Next
276,672 Pint Glasses
Marathon Monday falls on Patriots Day, the state holiday that some college students consider an invitation to consume alcohol even before the first group of runners takes off from Hopkinton. While drinking beer before 9 a.m. isn’t advisable, there’s something special about sipping a cold one on race day.
But will the spectators down enough booze to match the distance of the runners they are watching? Well, based on the 6-inch size of most pint glasses, they’ll have a long road ahead of them. It would take 276,672 pint glasses lined up end-to-end to reach from the starting line to the finish line. Next
Baguettes are a unique food—always delicious, but not always the same length as the one next to it. So while you may want to take a second look at the grocery store to make sure you’re getting the most bread for your buck, for our purposes, we’ll use an average length of about 26 inches.
Based on that number, it would take slightly more than 63,847 baguettes to stretch 26.2 miles. Next
377,280 Big Macs
If you’re training for a marathon, you probably want to avoid the Big Mac entirely, let alone 377,280 of them. But if you’re just watching, feel free to dig in! Of course, you might want to enlist a few friends if you plan to truly go the distance on 26.2 miles worth of the iconic McDonald’s burger. Next
130,198.59 2-Liter Soda Bottles
Runners will be sticking to water and sports drinks on Marathon Monday, leaving plenty of soda for the rest of us. While it might not fill any Olympic swimming pools, a marathon’s worth of soda is still pretty impressive, at nearly 130,199 2-liter bottles. Next
109,752 Large Pizzeria Regina Pizzas
Most runners will carbo-load in anticipation of running such a great distance. The usual meal of choice is a simple pasta dish with sauce, but pizza is close enough.
Pizzeria Regina makes a large pie that measures 16 inches in diameter, meaning it would take 109,752 to match the marathon’s distance. Next
319,236.92 Jars of Marshmallow Fluff
Moving on to some Massachusetts staples, marshmallow fluff is Somerville-born, Lynn-produced, and only 5.2 inches tall. At that size, you might have to buy more than one jar to keep your cravings satisfied at home, but you’ll need nearly 319,237 if you expect to get 26.2 miles lining them up top-to-bottom. Next
69,168 Larry O’Brien Championship Trophies
The Boston Celtics have won more NBA championships than any other team in the league, with 17 total Larry O’Brien Championship Trophies. While that’s certainly impressive, they’re still a long ways from 26.2 miles of the gold-plated statue. At 2 feet tall, it would take 69,168 NBA championship trophies lined up top-to-bottom to equal a marathon. Next
1,921.33 Green Line T Cars
If you're a Bostonian, you have probably taken a ride on the Green Line at one point in your life. They may be hated for their slower speeds, but the green cars that roll through Boston and its western neighborhoods are iconic.
They’re also pretty massive, even if the crowded rides make them seem cozy. At 72 feet long, you would need almost 1,922 Green Line T cars lined up end-to-end to cover the Boston Marathon route. Next
26.2 Newbury Streets
There’s plenty of shopping spots around Boston, but on days with nice weather, Newbury Street is the place to be. With shops stretching from Massachusetts Avenue to Boston’s Public Garden, plenty of people can be found on Newbury making purchases, window shopping, or simply going for a stroll.
While it may feel longer depending on how big of a shopper you are, the distance on Newbury Street between Mass. Ave. and the Public Garden is only a mile. You don’t have to be a math wiz to figure out how many of those it takes to match the marathon. Next
4,462.45 Duck Boats
Duck boats are an integral part of Boston, providing tours of the city’s sites and giving parade rides to the city’s champions. But so much of what happens on or around a duck boat has little to do with the boat itself, so you might not have noticed that these amphibious vehicles are actually 31 feet long. At that length, 26.2 miles can easily be filled with nearly 4,463 duck boats. Next
431.12 Football Fields
431.12 football fields might not sound like a lot at first, but ask Tom Brady how he feels about that kind of distance and maybe that will paint a clearer picture. After all, that comes out to 43,112 yards and it took Brady 13 years and more than 3,000 attempts to throw for that distance in the NFL. Football fields might be a cliche measurement to use, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Next
.0001097 Trips to the Moon
This almost makes a marathon sound easy. After all, 12 men have landed on the moon and made it back. That’s a 477,710-mile round trip! 26.2 miles won’t even get you close to what those guys did. Next
.001052 Trips Around The Equator
Getting around the Earth’s equator is a little easier than traveling to the moon, but it still beats a marathon by a long shot. If you want to rationalize running an unreasonable distance, this might be a good figure to go with. “Oh, hey, it’s just over a one-thousandth the distance around the Earth!” On second thought, that doesn’t sound all that great either. Next
1,002.44 Boeing 737’s
There are several models in Boeing’s 737 family, with the longest sitting at 138 feet. It’s hard to picture over 1,000 planes all lined up nose-to-tail, but we all know that just one of them is enormous. Next time you’re flying, imagine walking from the cockpit to the rear bathroom 1,002.44 times. Now imagine running that distance. Yikes. Next
453.56 Statues of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a beacon of hope in the United States. It stands for many as the ideals this country strives for. But boy oh boy can it be demoralizing when you have to run from her torch to her toes 453.56 times. “Give me your tired,” indeed. Next
Bow to stern, the Titanic is 883 feet long. That kind of distance deserves a gallery of its own to provide some context (1,926.55 Hershey bars, if you’re curious). Marathoners will have do the imaginary bow-to-stern run nearly 157 times before they cross the finish line on Boylston Street. Next
If you haven’t heard of a smoot before, bear with us. It’s a unit of measure that derives from a 1958 MIT fraternity prank where a pledge by the name of Oliver R. Smoot was used as a ruler to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge. One smoot comes out to roughly 5.583 feet.
If you’re wondering, the bridge turned out to be 364.4 smoots. But more importantly, the Boston Marathon is more than 24,775 smoots! Even if you had no clue what a smoot was, that just sounds far. Back to the beginning
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