This weekend more than 40,000 runners will take to the streets of the capital to compete in one of the most prestigious and iconic events in the sporting calendar – the London Marathon.
After months of training, these runners will feel like they have pushed their bodies to the very limit, but as Alex Hutchinson discovers in his new book Endure (£16.99, Harper Collins), the human body is capable of significantly more than we can imagine, even after a gruelling 26.2 mile run through the cobbled streets of London.
He talks to sciencefocus.com editor Alexander McNamara about what happens in the body when you are endurance running, whether we humans can ever run a marathon in under two hours, and how smiling while you run can improve your race times.
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