Do you know the history of the marathon?
Why is it 26.2 miles? Where did the .2 come from? Who did it first? Where did is start?
All sources are hyperlinked in the info below.
The marathon comes from the legend of the Greek soldier, Pheidippides. He was a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. The story says that Pheidippides was sent from the battle of Marathon to Athens to announces that Persians had been defeated. He ran the entire 26 miles without stopping, then burst into the assembly to announce the victory – where he promptly collapsed and died. Having run a full marathon now, I can kind of understand this feeling HAHA. Ultra runners – you have my RESPECT.
When the Olympics began in 1896, the marathon was featured as the games were held in Athens. The first winner of the Olympic marathon was Charilaos Vasilakos – in 3:18. At this time, it was a men’s only race (dumb). Now, back then it was still just a flat distance (around 25-26 miles) – the distance that Pheidippides ran.
In 1907, the International Olympic Committee changed that. They decided that the distance for the 1908 London Olympic Marathon should be a course of 26 miles from the start of Windsor Castle, to the royal entrance to the White City Stadium. Following that, there would be one lap (586 yards 2 feet; 536 m) that would finish right in front of the royal box. This was later changed to be a partial lap of 385 yards. Londoners take their royalty VERY seriously.
Women’s marathon running took longer to come around. Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966 – dressed as a man. In 1967, Katherine Switzer ran the first numbered entry of the Boston Marathon. She entered using just her initials “K.V. Swather.” Finally, in 1972, women were welcome to run the Boston Marathon officially.
Violet Piercy from Great Britain was the first woman to officially timed in the marathon. She ran a time of 3:40:22 in a British race in 1926. Because of the lack of women’s marathon competition, that time was the unofficial world record for 37 YEARS! Jealous HAHA!
- Less than 1% of the world’s population has run a marathon
- 550,000 annual marathon finishers in the US
- 1,050 annual marathons
- Only about 12% of those finishers run Boston Qualifying Times
Read more here.
Do you have any fun facts about the marathon?
Anything else you’ve always wondered about?
Leave me a comment below 🙂
I hope you all have an amazing Monday!
With love & history,