The problem I have with The Long Walk

Today I completed a half marathon, which sounds like a decent achievement until you learn that I walked the entire distance. Still, I am fairly proud of it, as I managed to maintain a steady four miles per hour pace for the entire distance, despite doing no training at all… clearly I am not as unfit as my sedentiary lifestyle might suggest. This is all preamble, albeit fairly relevant preamble, to my discussion of the issue I have with Stephen King’s story, The Long Walk.

Now, first let me say that I absolutely loved The Long Walk; it’s an excellent story and I’d recommend it to anyone. However, I have a slight problem with the central premise that the characters must continually walk at 4mph without rest. The issue I have with this is not the speed itself (which I have proved is doable, even over rougher terrain than the characters encounter) or the distance they walk (I wouldn’t make it, but with training I can easily imagine I might)… the issue is the fact that they maintain the pace even while exhausted and half asleep on their feet. In order to keep my pace, I really had to concentrate on not inadvertently dropping to a more comfortable one; the idea that one could maintain such a pace while half asleep is just not plausible to me. [/complaint]

Just as an aside, I spent the majority of the race walking alone; everyone else was either running (faster than me), walking (slower than me) or alternating (averaging a similar speed, but not in such a way that I could engage in conversation). To stave off boredom, I kept my Twitter followers up to date with (hopefully entertaining) news of how I was progressing. Somewhere along the way it did occur to me to wonder what The Long Walk might have been like, had it been written in the Twitter era… @curley got a charlie horse… lolz. #boughttheticket

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