Marathon






On Friday March 13th, 1998; Six Flags Over Georgia kicked off a roller coaster marathon with 24 lucky contestants. They were chosen from a radio station contest sponsored by Atlanta's 96 Rock. After recieving an invitation, they were provided with items raging from Jackets (I would pay for one of these), to underwear commemorating the event and a visit from the park president. During the kickoff there was plenty of Rock music, and high enthusiasm (which diminished some even in the first three hours). The rules are the last one off the Great American Scream Machine wins the Jeep, which they pass every time the train leaves the station as an incentive. They apparently ride 12 hours a day, get one 15 minute break per hour, a lunch and a dinner break. Some were sacraficing looks for comfort but, for what was at stake who can blame them. After 24 rides on the first day two of the contestants dropped out.

They are dubbed: "The coaster toasters"!; appropriately.

The next morning after 74 rides another two folks threw in the towel, by ride 161 there were only 18 left! It appered this contest at first was going to be short lived, spirits remained high.

Somewhere around the 445th ride mark, a man from Oxford, GA dropped out complaining (not surprisingly) of back trouble. The plight of the riders was just beginning.

The next day riders were greeted with dense fog and 0 degree temperatures (with the wind chill). That evening Josh Stevenson dropped out due to what paramedics called "symptoms of hypothermia", At 18 years old, he was the youngest person taking part in the marathon, and was considered somewhat of a celebrity.

After 988 laps completed, they were down to 15 riders, as one contestant was disqualified for reasons; lets say "for doing things they shouldn't have been"..

As of ride 1,266 on 3/20/98 there only 14 riders remaining! On the following Saturday and Sunday a person dropped out each day. I met one of the marathoners on Sunday, and he had lost his voice and had horribly chapped / wind burned lips.

On Monday 3/23/98 the radio station claimed only 11 enthusiastic riders were remaining and they had completed 1,800 curcuits.

On Tuesday 3/24/98 one of the two remaining women (unnamed here purposely)was apparently disqualified for what was described as "argueing with the officials"! The remaining womans name is Darthy, personally I feel either she or Ken Shubert will win! Also that day the contest luxuries were slightly altered. They start 2 hours earlier riding from (8 a.m.-10 p.m.), and the 15 minute break they get per hour were shortened to only five minutes.

Ride #2,420 was well recieved on Wednesday 3/25/98 with ten remaining contestants, claiming tonight we break the national record, now we try for the international! They may need to really tighten the belt and ride for longer hours to do that!

The international world record (last documented in 1990) is 503 hours of riding in 22 days, achieved by M.M Daniel Glada and Norman St. Pierre. They rode a coaster at Belmont Parc in Montreal from July 18th, through August 10th, 1983! Which is equal to about 21 hours a day!

On Thursday March 26th, ride #2,835 was delivered and the 15th day of the contest rolls on.
The names of the ten remaining contestants as of 3/26/98 are:
Anthony Brown -- Fayetteville, GA age 30
Darthy Brown -- Waco, GA age 20
Edward Everett -- East Point, GA age 39
Russell Hester -- Austell, GA age 33
Dion Hughes -- Douglasville, GA age 29
Chris Lange -- Norcross, GA age 23
Ryan Oldham -- Snellville, GA age 20
Anthony Parrish -- Tucker, GA age 31
Kenneth Shubert -- Austell, GA age 32
Jonathan Thompson -- Cumming, GA age 21

On Friday March 27, the group had finally widdled down to the single digits, with nine people remaining. Apparently one contestant Ryan Oldham, had a job offer and had to decide to either keep riding to win the jeep or to get a job. Wave bye, bye to the jeep Ryan. On Monday the March 30th, Atlantans can see the remaining contestants that day on channel 5, starting at 7:00 a.m. doing interviews and such.

Saturday the 28th greeted the remaining nine riders with summer weather. This day they completed thier 3025th lap, which is said to be the equivelent of 2170 miles!

Sunday 3/29/98: My personal trip report: Great American Scream Machine's track conditions are "superb", best I've seen in years. I found negative G's on every hill, if there were trim breaks they weren't being used! The best experience I've ever had on this coaster to date. I would not be able to do 12 hours of rides on this in one day. These marathoners deserve alot of respect!

The 3,307th ride was given on March 30th 1998 at 2:15 p.m, to the remaining eight riders. Our missing contestant, Ken Shubert had to decide either to keep up the marathon or his continued employment with his no longer amused employer. Not only was he a favorite but he is sorely missed by the remaining contestants. It is said that some of them were even teary-eyed due to his departure, he had endured 3,239 rides! I was very surpised about him dropiing out, I assumed all along he would win. High Temperature today 83 degree's.

The 3,700th ride was inflicted today 3/31/98 on the remaining 8 riders. It is said the future will be less appealing than it is today!?

Dateline: 4/1/98 - Anthony Brown apparently didn't want to be a fool on the hills. He like some of his previous new found friends had to continue employment. Day 20 rolls on, seven people left. An Atlanta newspaper today wondered if the remaining contestants would be covered in cob webs for Six Flags over Georgia's Fright Fest this October!

4/2/98 - Things are getting tough all over. After about the 4,000th lap into the challenge, the rules; well they just keep getting more difficult. Now the six contestants ride from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m., and they only get a break every two hours (still only a five minute break down from 15). The real kicker is they no longer have the luxury of the sleeping bags in the trailer routine. Now it's the romantic getaway of sleeping on the wooden floor in the rides stationhouse, in sleeping bags of course! I assume at this time they are still being fed (fine meals) from Micks restaurant daily! The food has yet to be downgraded to fast food. Far be it for me to give the "officials" any idea's to make the contestants lives worse. A few Krystal hamburgers, would bring this contest to a close much quicker, if that's a "new" goal.

4/3/98 Thunderstorms start the morning, Chris Lange starts for home never seeing the 4,100th lap! The ride can and will be run in the rain. As any sensible park would do, they are not running the coaster during periods of lightning. My main concern for the day is will the coaster flood as it usually does in extremely heavy rain? The coaster sits on the banks of the Chattahoochee river, no word yet if the bottom of the coaster drops are / were submerged today.

Monday April 06, 1998. Today six intrepid riders still weather the storm the G.A.S.M puts forth. Apparently by now they have comleted 4,850 rides in 25 days! That's about 3,215 miles of bad road (if you were driving) from Atlanta to Los Angeles! The radio station broadcasts that "the Guinness folks" will be out later this week to figure out if or what kind of a record may have been broken there. Other sources say that "the Guinness people" have already been out to the park this past weekend and are currently mulling over the possibities of what kind of records may have achieved;(who are these guys anyway?). Something I recommended to the radio station long ago. My bet is they could certainly win in the category of: the longest amount of hours guests have spent at an operational theme park without being employed or otherwise having a financial interest in the property and without paying. As more details are announced I will be sure to place them here.

"A world record has been broken!", at Six Flags over Georgia. Was the big news on Tuesday April 7th. Of course one of the contestants didn't have the joy of being a part of the excitement today. Anthony Parrish was tardy because of pre-occupation with a female and in turn not allowed to continue, his ride into history. So, we have five people who have broken "a" world record, a 2100 pollen count (probably a record), and a ride which probably seems now like listening to a broken record to these people. The "official" announcement of the achievement is just around the corner. I guarantee, it will be posted here! For the record "only in America can somebody in a period of a month, ride a roller coaster day in - day out, eat good food for free, see it on T.V nightly. Then break a world record and get to take home a "free new car" if they can do it longer than anybody else!"

April 8, still the same five folks.. Oh, and they have experienced 5,450 laps. The world record and beyond!

April 10, Friday.. Another contestant is gone. Apparently Edward somehow sustained an injury to his finger (unsure if it was while riding or not) bad enough to be disqualified. In the meantime we have the guiness folks keeping an "official" eye on our friends daily.. Later that day our four remaining thrill seekers deluxe had ridden past the 6,000th curcuit... WOW! The remaining people are:
Darthy Brown -- Waco, GA age 20
Russell Hester -- Austell, GA age 33
Dion Hughes -- Douglasville, GA age 29
Jonathan Thompson -- Cumming, GA age 21

Sunday April 12, the same four riders trudge on into roller coaster history. The 6,500th ride was given today. Also, a stuffed Taz (size unknown) to Jonathan from an admiring fan?

Monday 4/13/98; 4 people remaining; same ol' stuff: Lap bars checked, right turn, lift, big drop, rise, right turn, moderate drop, hill, hill, rise, fast turn, moderate drop, hill, hill, quick rise, left turn, small banked drop, speed hill, speed hill, lower arms before roof of break run, stop on a dime, a slow right turn into the station to do it agian. Sounds repetative? Imagine repeating that for one calendar month.

Tuesday 4/14/98: The weirdest occurance yet! After 6,571 laps it was decided that the marathon on the Great American Scream Machine had to end.. That's correct, I said "end". This information comes from two sources. The park officials for some reason or another thought it best that our contendors no longer ride it, but the Georgia Cyclone!? I thought that this contest would come to an abrupt ending with this kind of a "twist" in the saga. Instead it turns our four troopers were able to complete at least 350 laps today on the Cyclone! Maybe they are trying to break they're own world record on a different ride! The reason for the move at this time is unknown (presumably) due to the rain and the close proximity to G.A.S.M to the the (easily bank crested) river! What I also don't know at this time is if they still have to sleep in the G.A.S.M station or GC station. In my personal opinion this contest will end within the next 10 days.

4/15/98. A taxing day for Russell, he was "disqualified" for medical reasons, leaving three remaining contestants. Per a Six Flags source they are now sleeping in the GC station. There is a reason that the contest was moved to the GC but those reasons were undisclosed to me, ("it wasn't because of the river"). I will only post how many GC cyclone rides the winner was able to endure when the winner is announced (no daily updates).

4/24/98. Nothing eventful happened with the remaining three riders as of today except that they have now been moved back to the Great American Scream Machine from the Georgia Cyclone! I apologize for the absence of information recently, but that's the only news!

5/8/98 Yes, they are still going. Three people have been going round and round on the coaster, all over local television and radio. And yes, they have even made front cover of the newspaper more than once. Since they've started Atlanta went through a couple of "Tornadic" evenings, definate temperature changes, and even the park president now has a new position with Premier Parks! It is also said that changes are coming down the pike again for our marathoners next week. The good news (to answer everyone's questions:) Yes, they are showering. It is said the marathoners are all holding out for cars (like what happend after 11 measley days)in California. I hear it ain't gonna happen, 1 winner + 1 car < corporate sponsorship = 23 unhappy people, lots of free promotion, and higher bottom line. The "if you can't beat them, join them!" mentally could end this saga much quicker. Oh, and if your curious Darthy is riding for the sake of love. She is trying to win the vehicle for her husband, and we all know love conquers all. As more "interesting" things happen regarding this contest I will update it here as soon as possible. Also a recent news article showed our 3 friends eating park food! I guess the elegant dining is now a thing of the past (once provided by Micks resturants. They probably can consider it roughing by now, especially after a month of sleeping on a wooden floor every night.

5/11/98 - IT'S OVER!! After 61 days approx, 13,000 rides, recognition in today's people magazine, CNN, newspapers, this site on the internet, 0 degree - 90 degree temperatures, and patience, the three finalists were all awared 1 jeep each. On top of that, Dion got a list of phone numbers of girls who want a date, Darthy has a jeep for her husband, Jonathan got to ride a roller coaster for 61 days, I got a pair of collectable (unused thank you) marathon underwear and everyone lived happily ever after! - The end

This page will be updated as often as possible during the contest and will no longer be available as of oh um, Fall 1998. During the contest this page was loopyguy's most popular page ever..

 

Many people have expressed using the information on this web page for thier club newsletter/s. You may take what I have written here and edit it for your needs. Editors please give me some credit in the article/s, for contributing research. Please use it in a positive manner, I hope it serves you well.

 


Special thanks to Six Flags over Gerogia guest relations, 96 Rock for thier regular broadcasted updates, Robert Ulrich for providing a few bits and pieces and one of the "last 10" marathoners who was keeping me in the know nightly from the front line.