The marathon is usually a long-distance road race with a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, which equals 42 kilometers and 195 meters.
The name ‘Marathon’ comes from the old Greek legend of Pheidippides (490 BC), who ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians were defeated. He was able to say ‘we won’ and then collapsed and died of exhaustion.
The marathon distance was not standardized until 1921, but since then the distance is 42 kilometers and 195 meters.
Facts and Figures Marathon
- Worldwide, there are more than 500 marathons organized each year
- Each year, more than 500,000 American men and women finish a marathon
- The current male world record holder is Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) who ran the 2013 Berlin Marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and 23 seconds.
- The fastest marathon woman in the world is Paula Radclife from the United Kingdom. She set the women’s world record at the 2013 London Marathon at 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
- The youngest marathoner is Budhia Singh, a 3-year (!) old boy from India who ran together with his coach, who ended up in jail for exploiting the child and being cruel.
- There is some debate about the oldest marathoner: 100-year old Fauja Singh from Great Britain finished in 2011 the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours 11 minutes and 5 seconds, but since he was not able to produce a birth certificate, the record is not officially accepted. He also finished in 2004 the London Marathon at the age of 93.
- The oldest female marathoner is also from the United Kingdom: 92-year old Gladys Burill ran in 2010 the Honolulu Marathon in 9 hours and 53 minutes.
- The slowest marathoner ever is Lloyd Scott, who completed the London Marathon in 2002 in 5 days and 8 hours. Scott was wearing a 110 lb deep sea diving suit. This London-record will not be broken anymore, since nowadays the time limit for the London Marathon is 24 hours.
- The London Marathon had in 2011 also a remarkable runner: John Farnworth, a freestyle soccer player, completed the distance in 12 hours and 15 minutes, juggling a ball during the whole marathon. He did not drop the ball once!
- The marathon was introduced at the Olympic Games in 1896, while the marathon for women was introduced at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, United States.
- The oldest annual marathon is the Boston Marathon.
- Stefan Engels from Belgium, also known as Marathon Man, ran 365 consecutive marathons in 2010.
(Sources: Wikipedia, Mirror, Telegraph, Discovery)