Tuesday, October 12, 2010

History of the Marathon

A while ago my brother mentioned to me how the marathon came to be.  I was unfamiliar with the story, so I Googled.  Here's a summary of what I learned: 
The marathon  race  commemorates the  run  of  the  soldier Pheidippides  from a battlefield near Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory “Niki!” over the  Persians.  Pheidippides collapsed  and died at the end of his historic run.

When the inaugural Olympic games were held in Greece in 1896, the legend  of  Pheidippides was revived by a 24.85 mile run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic  stadium  in  Athens to be held on April 10 of that year.

The Greek postal worker, Spiridon Louis won the first organized marathon with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds – that’s an average pace of 7:11 minutes per mile!

At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium.  The 2.2 miles were added on so the race could finish in front of King Edward VII’s viewing box.  This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.  After 16 years of extremely heated discussion, this 26.2 mile distance was established at the 1924 Olympics in Paris as the official marathon distance by the IAAF.

Pretty cool huh?!



  1. is it too late to go back to 24.85 miles? (or 12.4 miles for the LB-Half?).. to heck with the Queen!