The marathon is an athletic event that brings people from different nationalities together. Some run for fun, others run to meet personal goals, others run for charity and the elite athletes run to compete for that gold, silver and bronze. It is a very competitive event. The history of the modern marathon dates way back to the Olympic Games of 1896 but standard distance of 42km was set in 1921.
The word marathon originated from the Greek legend Pheidippides who was a messenger believed to have run from marathon to Athens to deliver a victory message and collapsed immediately. There are some interesting facts about the marathon such as;
1. The length of the London marathon is 26.2 miles. The reason for this distance is based upon the 1908 London Olympic marathon. This distance was extended to give the royal family a chance to watch the beginning of the race from the Windsor castle and catch the end at the royal box inside the Olympic stadium
2. Chris brasher founded the London marathon in 1981. The first London marathon took place on March 1981 and happens every year in the spring season.
3. According to the Guinness World Record, the London marathon is the largest fundraiser held annually. More than £500 has been raised by participants since 1981 and donated to different charity groups and events.
4. The Boston marathon is the oldest yearly marathon in the world. It has been happening every year since 1897. The first winner of that marathon was John McDermott.
5. The Disney World Marathon is one of the marathon events in the world filled with fun. The course runs through magic kingdom, animal kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood studios.
6. The marathon Du Meldoc in France is regarded as the most indulgent marathon in the world. Participants start with a sip of wine and then they run through vineyards where they refresh at 22 different stands and 21 food stalls. The normally end the last 100 metres on a red carpet.
7. In 1998, Patrick Finney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which rendered him unable to walk in the year 2004. However, through medications, therapy and willpower, he was able to walk again a few years later. He went on to become the first person to with the disease to participate and complete 50 marathons in 50 different states.
8. In 1980, Rosie Ruiz who had won the Boston marathon in her division was later stripped of the medal. It was established that she joined the race midway. She had been initially watching the race.
9. A female runner who had joined the Boston marathon men’s race had to be chased down by police and ejected from the race in 1967. During those times, women were not allowed to participate in marathons.
10. Lloyd Scott holds the record for the world’s slowest marathon runner. He is a charity fundraiser who wore a diving suit weighing 110 pounds and took 5 days and 8 hours to finish a marathon.
The marathon has been a stage where some of the most surprising and entertaining events have happened over the years. It still continues to one of the most popular events in the athletics calendar.