CHICAGO—In a new study released Monday by Northwestern University, researchers found that 83 percent of marathon spectators only attend to relish the sick thrill of watching their fellow man suffer. “Analysis revealed that the guilty pleasure of watching a group of exhausted, miserable human beings painfully push their bodies to the limit in a 26-mile race is the primary motivation of every four out of five observers at the event,” said lead researcher Dr. Philip Sharp, noting that a large majority of people who watched marathons were there for the deliciously sinful delight of witnessing the pained expressions of struggling, out-of-breath competitors as they lose all control of their bodies and collapse. “Data found that scores of observers would even bring signs, air horns, and bells to encourage the runners to continue the parade of human misery just for their own perverse entertainment. Even the 17 percent of the audience who are primarily there to support a friend or loved one in the race admit they can’t help but savor the intoxicating, depraved rush of satisfaction they feel when watching a runner puking on the side of the road as their digestive system shuts down due to the intense level of exercise.” Sharp added that marathon officials were already citing the study as they considered plans to extend the length of races and ban water and carbohydrate-based energy gels in order to improve attendance and the overall enjoyment for spectators.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.