By Darren Franich
Updated December 03, 2010 at 06:01 PM EST

Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FoxHow much 24 can you handle at once? My personal record stands at about 11 hours — I watched the last two-thirds of season 3 in one sitting. (After Nina and the Evil British Dude arrived, and everyone forgot about the Mexican druglord brothers, things got awesome.) But that’s nothing compared to the marathon championship taking place right now in Hollywood: As the LA Times reports, 100 participants were put inside a glass box yesterday, and they’re currently competing to see who can last the longest watching the complete, 8-season, roughly 150-hour run of 24. The fan who lasts the longest will win $10,000, and will also experience the pleasure of hearing Jack Bauer say “Dammit!” and “Wheeeeeere!?!?!?!” an estimated 5 million times.

Now, preparing for a 24 marathon takes a lot of mental toughness. Seasons vary wildly in quality. Watching an entire season all at once forces you to grapple with logical flaws that naturally accrue over a sustained 24-episode narrative. (See: Season 4, where the terrorists kidnap the Secretary of Defense so they can cause a nuclear meltdown to distract the Air Force long enough to shoot a missile at Air Force One, which is just a distraction for firing a nuclear missile. Also, China.) The few proud marathoners who actually survive the first four seasons — roughly 72 hours of TV-watching — will then have to suffer through the orgy of Beloved Character Deaths at the start of season 5, which in their sleep-deprived state might cause suicidal depression. Yeesh, just try to imagine what it will look like if anyone actually lasts long enough to reach season 8’s much-despised Renee plotline. (Ever read Stephen King’s Richard Bachman’s The Long Walk?)

Viewers, how long could you last in a 24 marathon? Do you have a personal record that you’re proud of? And is there any show better-suited to this marathon challenge? Could you marathon your way through the complete run of Law & Order? Would marathon-ing a complete season of In Treatment solve your mental problems or give you mental problems?

Follow me on Twitter @EWDarrenFranich

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