why do we have marathon races in the olympics


The modern marathon event was created and later refined through the Olympic competition. The idea of holding a marathon race at the first Olympics was suggested to
by. Based upon a popular myth stemming from the, in which ran to from the town of to carry the message of a Greek victory, the 1896 course began in the town of Marathon and finished in Athens\’ a distance of around 40 kilometres (25Pmi). On April 10, 1896, Greek water-carrier won the first Olympic marathon in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. The route between Marathon and Panathenaic Stadium was repeated when Athens hosted the 2004 Games. The race distance varied from 40 to 42 kilometres (25 to 26Pmi) in the early editions as it was typically based upon the distance between two points that the organisers felt were suitable. The marked the introduction of the now standard distance of 26 miles, 385 yards (42. 195Pkm). However, it was not until the that this distance became the standard at the Olympics. The Olympic marathon proved immediately popular in the Western world and quickly spawned numerous long-running annual races, including the in 1897, the in 1902, the in 1907, and the London in 1909. Such marathons played a key role in the expansion of the road running movement internationally over the course of the 20th century.


It has become a tradition for the men\’s Olympic marathon to be the last event of the athletics calendar, on the final day of the Olympics. For many years the race finished inside the Olympic stadium; however, at the 2012 London games, the start and finish were on The Mall, and at the 2016 Rio games, the start and finish were in the Sambdromo, the parade area that serves as a spectator mall for Carnival. Often, the men\’s marathon medals are awarded at the closing ceremony; this occurred in, and, among other times. The for the event are 2:06:32 hours for men, set by in 2008, and 2:23:07 hours for women, set by in 2012. The men\’s has been improved several times at the Olympics: in 1908, 1920, and then at successive Olympics by in 1960 and 1964. Abebe Bikila and are the only athletes to have won two Olympic gold medals in the marathon. No athlete has won more than two medals of any colour. has won the most gold medals in the event, with six, while the has the greatest medal total with twelve overall. [ So, you want to have a really long race that eventually will attract the best runners from around the world.


Unlike other races with boring names like the mile and the 400 meter, with their well-defined distances, your race commemorates an ancient Greek town with an unusual route totaling somewhere around 24 to 26 miles. Well, if you re Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee and the, that was exactly the plan for the at the 1896 Olympics in Athens. The Olympic Games actually inspired the first Boston Marathon, which culminated on April 19, 1897. In a nod to Greek history, the first marathon commemorated the of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B. C. According to legend, Pheidippides ran the approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians to some anxious Athenians. Not quite in mid-season shape, he delivered the message Niki! (Victory! ) then keeled over and died. So, de Coubertin organized the first official race from the Marathon Bridge to Olympic Stadium in Athens, a distance of about 24. 85 miles or 40,000 meters. Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker, won that first race in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds, finishing seven minutes ahead of the pack.

Of the 25 entrants, only 9 runners hit the finish line. After 1896, the next few Olympic varied in distance with the idea that as long as all runners ran the same course, there was no need to keep the distance exactly the same. For the 1908 London Olympics, the course was laid out from Windsor Castle to White City stadium, about 26 miles. However, to locate the finish line in front of the royal family s viewing box, an extra 385 yards was added inside the stadium. Hence the marathon tradition of yelling God save the Queen in the last mile. Despite the success of that first race, it took 13 more years of arguing before the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) adopted the 1908 distance as the official marathon. In fact, of the first seven modern Olympics, there were six different distances. Today, there are more than 500 organized marathons in 64 countries around the world each year, with more than 425,000 marathon finishers in the United States alone. As many of these veterans will tell you, the first 26 miles are easy, its that last quarter mile that will kill you. writes about sports science at.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button