As the Cuban Missile Crisis eases, President Kennedy is casting around for a demonstration of American prowess when one of his Cabinet unearths an old mandate that US Marines be fit enough to walk fifty miles in twenty hours. Perfect! Kennedy decides to throw down the gauntlet to “today’s Marines,” but before he knows it, he’s sparked a wild fad. The entire country has answered the call, it seems, and for a few crazed winter weeks, masses of Americans will embark on their own arduous Big Walks—the “JFK 50-Milers.”
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