Marathon ChallengeHow do you run 26.2 miles if you have trouble making it around the block? With good coach­ing, discipline, and lots of group support, as NOVA shows when it follows 13 generally sedentary people through a training regimen designed to prepare them for an ultimate test of stamina and endurance. Created in cooperation with the Boston Athletic Association®, which granted NOVA unprec­edented access to the 111th Boston Marathon®, and Tufts University, "Marathon Challenge" takes viewers on a unique adventure inside the human body, tracking the physiological changes that exercise can bring about.

Former Olympian and three-time Boston Marathon winner Uta Pippig offers advice and inspiration to NOVA's runners throughout their training. And veteran Tufts University coach Donald Megerle guides them week-by-week through an onslaught of physical and psychological challenges. NOVA's runners range in age from 22 to 60, and they come to the endeavor with a wide range of medical histories and backgrounds. They share one thing in common: none has ever run a marathon before.

Team NOVA includes Betsey, a hospital administrator who became substantially overweight while recovering from surgery; Jonathan, a hard-charging CEO and father of five whose marriage is breaking apart; Sama, a reformed smoker mourning the recent death of her mother to a hit-and-run driver; Larry, a social worker and 14-year survivor of a serious heart attack; Xenia, a woman turning 40 and struggling with being an "aging sedentary physician"; and Steve, a Harley-riding former NFL linebacker who sees the marathon as a novel challenge for someone used to running only a few yards before tackling an opponent.

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