The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards), that is usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon, to Athens.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes. Smaller marathons, such as the Stanley Marathon, can have just dozens of participants, while larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.
Famous quotes containing the word marathon:
“In their eyes I have seen
the pin men of madness in marathon trim
race round the track of the stadium pupil.”
—Patricia K. Page (b. 1916)
“The mountains look on Marathon
And Marathon looks on the sea;
And musing there an hour alone,
I dreamed that Greece might still be free;
For standing on the Persians grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)
“... marathon swimming is the most difficult physical, intellectual and emotional battleground I have encountered, and each time I win, each time I touch the other shore, I feel worthy of any other challenge life has to offer.”
—Diana Nyad (b. 1949)