The Marathon is a 24-hour event, taking place from noon on Thursday to noon on Friday. The kids are split into four groups of ten riders; two groups ride laps of the track for an hour and then take an hour rest. So, it is one hour on, one hour off, throughout the twenty-four hours. The same applies to the lap counters, who each have assigned riders that they have to keep track of. It takes some stamina, especially if you are aiming for the school record. A ton of pizza and other food and snacks, gallons of water and gatorade, and more are required to fuel the riders as they circle around throughout the night. The teachers don't exactly take it easy either - I saw both Mr. Gonzalez and Ms. Foster out spinning with the students, and will work to keep the wheels rolling though the dark hours.
As I left for the evening, the sun was nearing the horizon, and it wouldn't be long before the lights came on. The cheering had been going strong for several hours by then with little, if any, decline in enthusiasm, and I wondered how long into the early morning hours it could continue. Well, it's all in fun, and since the son is riding this year, I am sure I will hear all about those early hours this afternoon.
the aftermath: after 535 laps = 133.75 miles of a dirt track (good enough for 3rd place, boys), your bike too may start to look like it has survived Paris-Roubaix during a dry year, or perhaps the Strada Bianca.