26.2 to Life
“If you’re running a marathon or serving a life sentence, it’s overwhelming to think about how much further you have to go. One step at a time, one mile at a time… just try to be productive, every single day.” – Rahsaan Thomas, Pulitzer Prize Nominee and resident of San Quentin State Prison. Set both within and outside California’s oldest prison, 26.2 to Life: The San Quentin Prison Marathon, explores the crisis of over-incarceration through the stories of three men living life sentences in California’s oldest prison who are working to better themselves and be productive citizens despite the fact that they may never be released. As the men run the most unique marathon in the world – 105 laps around an uneven dirt and concrete path that loops the prison’s crowded Lower Yard – they confront the challenges of aging, finding purpose and maintaining family relationships behind bars, all while grappling with the reality that they may never again see life on the outside. To win release from prison, incarcerated people must demonstrate personal transformation. With few opportunities for healing and growth in prison, training for the marathon is that rare chance to find redemption. Less than 1% of the population, incarcerated or free, ever completes a marathon. For these men, the marathon is a vehicle for self-improvement, a chance to be defined by more than their crime and build and experience community. For a few, it can lead to freedom – or something like it.