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Marathon Mania: 10 Long Events

Every April, the Boston Marathon draws thousands of runners. Here are 10 more epic New England events for anyone who just can’t stop — reading Moby Dick, dancing, biking, playing volleyball, watching sci-fi films, watching plays, riding horseback, and on and on.

1. Team Up for a Good Cause

Trinity College’s annual weekend-long Volleyball Marathon draws a huge crowd every year. Every team can expect to play six games in the marathon’s first two-and-a-half hours. Teams that make it to the playoffs will be going for a full four hours. Proceeds benefit the Easter Seals Greater Hartford Rehabilitation Center.
March 13-15, Trinity College Field House, Jct. Crescent & Broad Sts., Hartford, CT 860-714-9500;

2. You Can Finally Say You Read It

Worcester’s annual Bloomsday Ramble celebrates the life of Irish writer James Joyce. Relive the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which take place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The Ramble starts at 8 a.m. at Bancroft Tower. With participants reciting various episodes at several locations that approximate the sites visited by the novel’s characters, the marathon read continues until 10 p.m. (A two-hour dinner break is included.) Don’t worry if you haven’t read the novel yet — this is a great way to get inspired!
June 16, Bancroft Tower, Bancroft Tower Road (off Massachusetts Ave.), Worcester, MA 508-797-4770;

3. Till You Drop

Boston University’s Dancing in the Moonlight marathon has been the institution’s largest annual fundraiser for more than six years. Proceeds from this 18-hour event go to two organizations that assist children with HIV/AIDS and their families. Theme-music hours, prizes, free giveaways, and plenty of food are all part of the fun.
March 28-29, Sargent Activities Center, 1 University Road, Boston, MA;

4. The Show Must Go On

Welcome to Dram-a-thon, the Boston Theater Marathon: 50 new works by Boston-area playwrights, performed by 50 theater companies in 10 hours. Beginning at noon, 10-minute plays are presented back to back. Proceeds go to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund.
May 17, Calderwood Pavilion/Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston, MA 617-353-5443;

5. Thar She Blows

At noon on the first Saturday of every January, a young, bearded sailor dressed as a 19th-century whaleman steps onto the deck of the half-scale whaling bark Lagoda at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and says, “Call me Ishmael.” For the next 25 hours, some 150 readers recite passages from Herman Melville’s greatest work for the annual Moby-Dick Marathon, commemorating the anniversary of the 21-year-old author’s departure on the Acushnet. The museum serves traditional whaleship food, along with coffee and cider. Admission is free.
January 2, 2010, New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA. 508-997-0046;

6. Beam Up

The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival offers 24 straight hours of the best and worst sci-fi movies ever made. Hundreds of the faithful pack into the Somerville Theatre to alternately be awed by and jeer at an endless parade of space zombies, mind melds, and giant iguanas. Intermissions are short; the only real break is the 20 minutes it takes to judge the tinfoil-hat competition.
February 14-15 (Presidents’ Day Weekend), Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville, MA. 617-625-5700;

7. Runnin’ Wild

Unleash your inner Tarzan! The Untamed New England Adventure Race is not for the faint of heart. At the sound of the starting gun, this marathon doesn’t stop for up to 60 hours. Teams of three or four players each will cover more than 170 miles of wilderness. They’ll receive no assistance throughout the race. Teams choose their own routes between checkpoints, there are no official aid stations or support crews, and there are no designated sleeping times. The race is held at a different location in New England each June. Challenging for both first-time racers and experienced teams alike, this marathon includes mountain biking, paddling, trekking, ropes courses, and orienteering. The winning team is expected to finish the course in about 55 hours, and there are cut-off points midrace so that no team will be on the course for more than three days. Call or check the Web site for the latest details on location and other race information.
July 9-12, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, Cold Spring Road, Dixville Notch, NH 877-486-8263;

8. Two-Wheeling Heaven

Trek Across Maine is a weekend bike trip that let riders enjoy the Pine Tree State’s countryside. Starting at Sunday River in Newry, riders have a choice of two scenic routes, each covering about 180 miles, to the finish two days later in Belfast. This marathon event supports the American Lung Association of Maine, having raised more than $13 million for the organization since its inception. Overnight accommodations are provided for riders, or they may choose to camp outside.
June 19-21, Sunday River Ski Resort, Sunday River Road, Newry, ME. 207-622-6394;

9. Blistering Pace

North Face Around the Lake Relay: the perfect marathon for beginning footracers. Each lap around Quannapowitt Lake is a little over three miles; choose eight laps, about 26.2 miles overall, or the Ultra’s 24-hour run. Because the course is divided up so neatly, runners may stop after each lap for a break or challenge themselves for time or number of laps. Runs begin at 7 p.m., after the temperature has dropped, and the course is well lit with mid- and end-course water stops along the way. Beware of blisters, and bring plenty of socks to change into if you’re attempting the Ultra.
July 24-25, Best Western Lord Wakefield Hotel, 595 North Ave., Wakefield, MA 781-416-2857;

10. Horsing Around

This is the 73rd year for the Green Mountain Horse Association’s annual 100-Mile Ride, a three-day event to support Vermont riding, and the oldest 100-mile trail ride in the country. Riders will travel 40 miles on Friday and Saturday and 20 on Sunday over beautiful and challenging bridle trails. The GMHA will provide stabling on Thursday through Sunday; the event includes pre-ride breakfasts, a post-trail lunch, and a special brunch on Sunday, all catered by Travelin’ Willy B’s. On-trail snacks will also be provided. Awards in each weight division, plus overall Grand Champion and Reserve.
September 4-6, Green Mountain Horse Association, 110 Route 106, South Woodstock, VT 802-457-1509;

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

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2 Responses to Marathon Mania: 10 Long Events

  1. Cathy Barger February 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Hi! Does anyone know where I could get a copy ot the Albert Lorenz illustration of the Pequod and Moby Dick on pp. 88 and 89 of the Marathon Mania article in the March/April issue?? Thank you very much.

  2. Heather Marcus March 5, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Cathy,
    thanks for your inquiry. please go ahead and contact the artist’s business manager, Maureen, directly, if you are interested in a print. she may be reached at
    Heather Marcus
    Photo Editor

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