How would you win Richard Bachman's "The Long Walk"?
September 9, 2013 1:19 PM   Subscribe

In The Long Walk, the 1979 dystopian alternate history novel by "Richard Bachman" (Stephen King), contestants engage in a brutal walking contest in which the participants must walk continuously until only one contestant is left alive. If you were a Long Walk contestant, what strategies would you employ (physical, psychological, social) in order to win -- or at least survive as long as possible?

The rules of the contest are:

-- Walkers must maintain a speed of no less than 4 miles per hour;

-- Dropping below 4 mph for 30 seconds (or breaking a rule) results in a Warning;

-- Walkers may receive a maximum of three Warnings before being shot dead;

-- One Warning is removed for every hour of walking;

-- Spectators are forbidden from aiding or interfering with a Walker in any way;

-- Walkers may not physically interfere with another Walker (though non-physical interference, in the form of verbal harassment/provocation or mind games, is generally tolerated);

-- Attempting to leave the road results in immediate execution.

Walkers travel along a paved highway with intermittent uphill/downhill grades of varying inclines. They may not stop for any reason (e.g. sleep, bowel movements) without incurring Warnings, though Walkers may use the time between Warnings to rest, urinate, etc. Escaping the Walk is virtually impossible due to continuous visual (and implied electronic) surveillance.

There is no restriction regarding clothing, footwear, or food items Walkers may carry with them. While there is no explicitly described list of prohibited items, we can infer that no devices/instruments/tools/etc. may be carried that would violate any rules or circumvent the basic premise of the contest (like, say, a pair of rollerskates).

Assuming you were crazy/suicidal enough to enter this horrifically grueling contest, what strategies and tactics would you employ in order to outlast the other Walkers? What items would you bring with you? Would you engage in psychological tactics? If so, what?
posted by Mo' Money Moe Bandy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is pretty much classic chatfilter. -- cortex

Although I doubt such things were widely available in the dystopian society of the Long Walk, I'd certainly carry a pocketful of stimulants!

Also: aspirin and a spare pair of socks.
posted by Mr. Justice at 1:23 PM on September 9, 2013

Seems like a lot depends on how long you can stop per each warning. Also, regarding spectators and aid, can Walkers cache items along the route for themselves?
posted by craven_morhead at 1:23 PM on September 9, 2013

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