Date of Award

2011

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

Dave Kress

Second Committee Member

Dylan Dryer

Third Committee Member

Alex Irvine

Abstract

Global Marathon Man is a novella centered around a fictionalized artifact, a snapshot of the global marathon man, and the event from which that artifact stems. In the world of the novella, Randal Irnan partakes in a global triathlon sponsored by Space Food Sticks energy bars. Coined by journalists as "the single greatest feat of human endurance ever attempted," the triathlon consists of Irnan biking east-to-west across the Eurasian continent, swimming across the Atlantic Ocean, and then running east-to-west across the North American continent to the Bering Strait, essentially completing a circumnavigation of the planet. Irnan fails to complete the triathlon, collapsing along the Alaska highway in October of 1986. Nearly twenty years later, Bill Haddock, a features writer for Sports Illustrated who was an intern with the magazine during the original global triathlon, decides to retell Irnan's story as though it were taking place in the present. To do so, Haddock must erase all documented history of the original triathlon and invent documents to support it occurring in the present. One artifact standing in hi way is the snapshot of the global marathon. Throughout the course of the work, this artifact "speaks," "presents" documents, and interrogates the narratives that it arranges in an attempt to demonstrate its own textual inexhaustibility. As such the novella questions the appropriations of an event and the subsequent metamorphoses of that which is appropriated. Subjects, locations, and histories, personal or otherwise, thus become objects of the artifact, of the event, in coming into articulation with it.

Share