Little to no biographical information is presented about the Major within The Long Walk, but due to Stebbins' testimony, it is inferred that he is at the very least in his mid-to-late thirties and has been running the Long Walk for at least 13 years, but likely much longer. A pristine, methodical man known for his punctuality and decorum, he is depicted as never appearing in public without wearing reflective sunglasses (it is speculated that a possible reason for this is that his eyes are "extremely light-sensitive"). According to Garraty's father, he is "a society-supported sociopath", and he bears a strong physical resemblance to depictions of Big Brother from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The Major's first appearance is at the starting line, meeting each Walker, passing out their respective numbers, and starting the race quietly with his signature phrase: "Luck to all." He strategically reappears whenever the walkers break a major record and at predetermined sections of the track, and while the Walkers continue to build animosity for the Major, calling him a murderer and sadist, they often cannot help but cheer him during each appearance. He appears at the end of the race, ready to offer Garraty the Prize, but is mostly unrecognizable to Garraty, who initially mistakes him for a "damn fool" who should not commit a capital crime by driving on the road. This is the only time that anyone in the book overlooks the Major.