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The marathon is a long-distance race with an official distance of , usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
soldier
Pheidippides Pheidippides ( el, Φειδιππίδης, , "Son of Pheídippos") or Philippides (Φιλιππίδης) is the central figure in the story that inspired a modern sporting event, the marathon race. Pheidippides is said to have run from Marathon t ...
, a messenger from the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian fo ...
to Athens, who reported the victory. The marathon can be completed by running or with a run/walk strategy. There are also
wheelchair A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used when walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, problems related to old age, or disability. These can include spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, hemiplegia, and quadriplegia), cerebral pals ...
divisions. The marathon was one of the original modern
Olympic Olympic or Olympics may refer to Sports Events * Olympic Games, international multi-sport event held since 1896 ** Summer Olympic Games ** Winter Olympic Games * Ancient Olympic Games, ancient multi-sport event held in Olympia, Greece between 77 ...
events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 800 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes, as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.


History


Origin

The name ''Marathon'' comes from the legend of Philippides (or
Pheidippides Pheidippides ( el, Φειδιππίδης, , "Son of Pheídippos") or Philippides (Φιλιππίδης) is the central figure in the story that inspired a modern sporting event, the marathon race. Pheidippides is said to have run from Marathon t ...
), the Greek messenger. The legend states that, while he was taking part in the battle of
Marathon The marathon is a long-distance race with an official distance of , 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 ...
, he witnessed a Persian vessel changing its course towards Athens as the battle was near a victorious end for the Greek army. He interpreted this as an attempt by the defeated
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as languages closely related to Persian. The ancient Persians w ...
to rush into the Greek capital and claim a false victory in the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian fo ...
, which took place in August or September, 490 BC, hence claiming their authority over Greek land. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping, discarding his weapons and even clothes to lose as much weight as possible, and burst into the assembly, exclaiming νενικήκαμεν (''nenikēkamen'', "we have won!"), before collapsing and dying. The account of the run from Marathon to Athens first appears in
Plutarch Plutarch (; grc-gre, Πλούταρχος, ''Ploútarchos''; ; AD 46–after AD 119) was a Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, historian, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is known primarily for his ''Parallel Lives'', ...

Plutarch
's ''On the Glory of Athens'' in the 1st century AD, which quotes from
Heraclides Ponticus Heraclides Ponticus ( grc-gre, Ἡρακλείδης ὁ Ποντικός ''Herakleides''; c. 390 BC – c. 310 BC) was a Greek philosopher and astronomer who was born in Heraclea Pontica, now Karadeniz Ereğli, Turkey, and migrated to Athens. He is ...
's lost work, giving the runner's name as either Thersipus of Erchius or Eucles. Satirist
Lucian of Samosata Lucian of Samosata, '; la, Lucianus Samosatensis ( 125 – after 180) was a Syrian satirist and rhetorician who is best known for his characteristic tongue-in-cheek style, with which he frequently ridiculed superstition, religious practices, a ...
(2nd century AD) first gives an account closest to the modern version of the story, but is writing tongue-in-cheek and also names the runner Philippides (not Pheidippides). There is debate about the historical accuracy of this legend. The Greek historian
Herodotus Herodotus (; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, ''Hēródotos'', ; BC) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). He is known for having written the book ''The Histories'' ( grc, Ἱσ ...
, the main source for the
Greco-Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire and Greek city-states that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the ...
, mentions Philippides as the messenger who ran from
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to
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the name Sparta referred to its main se ...

Sparta
asking for help, and then ran back, a distance of over each way. In some Herodotus manuscripts, the name of the runner between Athens and Sparta is given as Philippides. Herodotus makes no mention of a messenger sent from Marathon to Athens, and relates that the main part of the Athenian army, having fought and won the grueling battle, and fearing a naval raid by the Persian fleet against an undefended Athens, marched quickly back from the battle to Athens, arriving the same day. In 1879,
Robert Browning Robert Browning (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) was an English poet and playwright whose dramatic monologues put him among the foremost Victorian poets. His poems are noted for irony, characterization, dark humour, social commentary, historica ...
wrote the poem ''Pheidippides''. Browning's poem, his composite story, became part of late 19th century popular culture and was accepted as a historic legend.
Mount Pentelicus Mount Pentelicus or Pentelikon (, or ) is a mountain in Attica, Greece, situated northeast of Athens and southwest of Marathon. Its highest point is the peak ''Pyrgari'', with an elevation of 1,109 m. The mountain is covered in large part wit ...
stands between Marathon and Athens, which means that if Philippides actually made his famous run after the battle, he had to run around the mountain, either to the north or to the south. The latter and more obvious route matches almost exactly the modern Marathon-Athens highway, which follows the lay of the land southwards from Marathon Bay and along the coast, then takes a gentle but protracted climb westwards towards the eastern approach to Athens, between the foothills of Mounts
Hymettus Hymettus (), also Hymettos (; el, Υμηττός, transliterated ''Ymīttós'', pronounced ), is a mountain range in the Athens area of Attica, East Central Greece. It is also colloquially known as ''Trellós'' (crazy) or ''Trellóvouno'' (crazy ...
and
Penteli Penteli ( el, Πεντέλη) is a town and a municipality in the North Athens regional unit, Attica, Greece. It belongs to the Athens metropolitan area. It takes its name from Mount Pentelicus. Municipality The municipality Penteli was formed at t ...
, and then gently downhill to Athens proper. This route, as it existed when the Olympics were revived in 1896, was approximately long, and this was the approximate distance originally used for marathon races. However, there have been suggestions that Philippides might have followed another route: a westward climb along the eastern and northern slopes of Mount Penteli to the pass of Dionysos, and then a straight southward downhill path to Athens. This route is a bit shorter, , but includes a very steep initial climb of more than .


Modern Olympics marathon

When the modern Olympics began in 1896, the initiators and organizers were looking for a great popularizing event, recalling the glory of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity ( AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle ...
. The idea of a marathon race came from
Michel Bréal Michel Jules Alfred Bréal (; 26 March 183225 November 1915), French philologist, was born at Landau in Rhenish Palatinate. He is often identified as a founder of modern semantics. Life and career After studying at Wissembourg, Metz and Paris, ...
, who wanted the event to feature in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. This idea was heavily supported by
Pierre de Coubertin Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (; born Pierre de Frédy; 1 January 1863 – 2 September 1937, also known as Pierre de Coubertin and Baron de Coubertin) was a French educator and historian, founder of the International Olympic Commit ...
, the founder of the modern Olympics, as well as by the
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant di ...
. The Greeks staged a selection race for the Olympic marathon on 22 March 1896 ( Gregorian) that was won by
Charilaos Vasilakos Charilaos Vasilakos ( el, Χαρίλαος Βασιλάκος, November 1875 – December 1, 1964) was a Greek athlete and the first man to win a marathon race. He also won a silver medal at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. Biography Vasilakos ...
in 3 hours and 18 minutes (with the future winner of the introductory Olympic Games marathon, Spyridon "Spyros" Louis, coming in fifth at a second race two weeks later).. Results summary: page 27, annotation 3. The winner of the first Olympic marathon, on 10 April 1896 (a male-only race), was Spyridon Louis, a Greek water-carrier, in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. The marathon of the 2004 Summer Olympics was run on the traditional route from
Marathon The marathon is a long-distance race with an official distance of , 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 ...
to
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 485 874 ...
, ending at
Panathinaiko Stadium The Panathenaic Stadium ( el, Παναθηναϊκό Στάδιο, Panathinaïkó Stádio, ), as spelled by Philostratus. or ''Kallimarmaro'' (Καλλιμάρμαρο, , lit. "beautiful marble") is a multi-purpose stadium in Athens, Greece. One of ...
, the venue for the 1896 Summer Olympics. That men's marathon was won by Italian
Stefano Baldini Stefano Baldini (born 25 May 1971 in Castelnovo di Sotto, Emilia-Romagna, Italy) is a retired Italian runner who specialized in the marathon. He was the Olympic champion in Athens and was twice European champion (1998 and 2006). Biography Baldini ...

Stefano Baldini
in 2 hours 10 minutes and 55 seconds, a record time for this route until the non-Olympics
Athens Classic Marathon The Athens Classic Marathon The Authentic is an annual marathon road race held in Athens, Greece, normally in early November (the second Sunday of November), since 1972. It also often serves as Greece's national marathon championships. The race a ...
of 2014, when Felix Kandie lowered the course record to 2 hours 10 minutes and 37 seconds. The women's marathon was introduced at the
1984 Summer Olympics The 1984 Summer Olympics (officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad and commonly known as Los Angeles 1984) was an international multi-sport event held from July 28 to August 12, 1984, mainly in Los Angeles, California, United States. ...
(Los Angeles, USA) and was won by
Joan Benoit Joan Benoit Samuelson (born May 16, 1957) is an American Senior Grand Masters marathon runner who was the first women's Olympic Games marathon champion, winning the Gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She held the fastest time ...
of the United States with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes and 52 seconds. 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 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad and commonly known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, United Kingdom. The first event, t ...
(London), the start and finish were on The Mall, and at the
2016 Summer Olympics ) , nations = 207 , athletes = 11,238 , events = 306 in 28 sports (41 disciplines) , opening = 5 August , closing = 21 August , opened_by = Acting president Michel Temer , cauldron = Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima , stadium ...
(
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ;), or simply Rio, is the second-most populous city in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state, after São Paulo and Mi ...
), the start and finish were in the Sambódromo, the parade area that serves as a spectator mall for
Carnival Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). Carnival typically ...
. Often, the men's marathon medals are awarded during the closing ceremony (including the 2004 games, 2012 games and 2016 games). The Olympic men's record is 2:06:32, set at the
2008 Summer Olympics The 2008 Summer Olympics (), officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad () and commonly known as Beijing 2008 (), was an international multisport event held from 8 to 24 August 2008 in Beijing, China. A total of 10,942 athletes fr ...
by
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru Samuel Kamau Wanjiru (10 November 1986 – 15 May 2011) was a Kenyan long-distance runner who won the 2008 Beijing Olympics Marathon in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32; becoming the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon. He became ...
of Kenya (average speed about ). The Olympic women's record is 2:23:07, set at the
2012 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad and commonly known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, United Kingdom. The first event, t ...
by
Tiki Gelana Erba Tiki Gelana ( am, ኧርባ ቲኪ ገላና; born 22 October 1987) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who competes in marathon races. Her personal best of 2:18:58 had been the Ethiopian national record for the event from 2012 to 2017. She wo ...
of Ethiopia. The men's London 2012 Summer Olympic marathon winner was
Stephen Kiprotich Stephen Kiprotich ("KIP-roh-tich", born 27 February 1989) is a Ugandan long-distance runner, born in Kapchorwa District. He is an Olympic marathon champion, having won gold at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. He also won gold at the 2013 World C ...
of Uganda (2:08:01). Per capita, the Kalenjin ethnic group of
Rift Valley Province Rift Valley Province ( sw, Mkoa wa Bonde la Ufa) of Kenya, bordering Uganda, was one of Kenya's eight provinces, before the Kenyan general election, 2013. Rift Valley Province was the largest and one of the most economically important provinces in ...
in
Kenya Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya ( sw, Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Eastern Africa. At , Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 47.6 million people in the 2019 census, Kenya is the ...
has produced a highly disproportionate share of marathon and track-and-field winners.


Marathon mania

The
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
began on 19 April 1897, and was inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the
1896 Summer Olympics The 1896 Summer Olympics ( el, Θερινοί Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες 1896, link=no, Therinoí Olympiakoí Agónes 1896), officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, was the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. O ...
. It is the world's oldest run annual marathon, and ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events. Its course runs from Hopkinton in southern Middlesex County, to
Copley Square Copley Square , named for painter John Singleton Copley, is a public square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, bounded by Boylston Street, Clarendon Street, St. James Avenue, and Dartmouth Street. Prior to 1883 it was known as Art Square due to its ...
in Boston.
Johnny Hayes , posing for a studio portrait shortly after his 1908 Olympic Marathon victory. and Bob Tisdall) in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland John Joseph "Johnny" Hayes (April 10, 1886 – August 25, 1965) was an United States, American athlete, a member o ...
' victory at the 1908 Summer Olympics also contributed to the early growth of long-distance running and marathoning in the United States. Later that year, races around the
holiday season The Christmas season, also called the holiday season (often simply called the holidays), or the festive season, is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and other countries that is generally considered to run from November to ...
including the Empire City Marathon held on New Year's Day 1909 in
Yonkers Yonkers () is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States. Developed along the Hudson River, it is the fourth most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester. The population of Yonkers was 195,9 ...
, New York, marked the early running craze referred to as "marathon mania". Following the 1908 Olympics, the first five amateur marathons in New York City were held on days that held special meanings:
Thanksgiving Day Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Simila ...
, the day after Christmas, New Year's Day,
Washington's Birthday Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act ...
, and
Lincoln's Birthday store on State Street in Chicago, Illinois decorated for Lincoln 100th birthday in 1909 File:Flags of the Confederacy displayed at movie house on Lincoln's birthday, Winchester, Virginia.jpg, thumbnail, Flags of the Confederate States of America, ...
.
Frank Shorter Frank Charles Shorter (born October 31, 1947) is an American former long-distance runner who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. His Olympic success, along with the achi ...
's victory in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics would spur national enthusiasm for the sport more intense than that which followed Hayes' win 64 years earlier. In 2014, an estimated 550,600 runners completed a marathon within the United States. This can be compared to 143,000 in 1980. Today marathons are held all around the world on a nearly weekly basis.


Inclusion of women

For a long time after the Olympic marathon started, there were no long-distance races, such as the marathon, for women. Although a few women, such as Stamata Revithi in 1896, had run the marathon distance, they were not included in any official results. Marie-Louise Ledru has been credited as the first woman to complete a marathon, in 1918. Violet Piercy has been credited as the first woman to be officially timed in a marathon, in 1926.
Arlene PieperArlene Pieper, also known as Arlene Pieper Stine, (18 March 1930 – 11 February 2021) became the first woman to officially finish a marathon in the United States when she finished the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in 1959. Her da ...
became the first woman to officially finish a marathon in the United States when she completed the
Pikes Peak Marathon The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon is a trail running competition that begins at the base of Pikes Peak, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and climbs over 7,815 feet (2382 m) to the top of the 14,115 foot (4302 m) peak. Since 1956, the event takes pla ...
in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in 1959.
Kathrine Switzer Kathrine Virginia Switzer (born January 5, 1947, in Amberg, Germany) is an American marathon runner, author, and television commentator. In 1967, she became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor. Durin ...
was the first woman to run the
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
"officially" (with a number), in 1967. However, Switzer's entry, which was accepted through an "oversight" in the screening process, was in "flagrant violation of the rules", and she was treated as an interloper once the error was discovered.Semple, Jock; with John J. Kelley and Tom Murphy (1981). ''Just Call Me Jock: The Story of Jock Semple, Boston's Mr. Marathon'', pages 7, 114–118, Waterford Publishing Co.,
Bobbi Gibb Roberta Louise "Bobbi" Gibb (born November 2, 1942 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is the first woman to have run the entire Boston Marathon (1966). She is recognized by the Boston Athletic Association as the pre-sanctioned era women’s winner in 19 ...
had completed the Boston race unofficially the previous year (1966), and was later recognized by the race organizers as the women's winner for that year, as well as 1967 and 1968.


Distance

The length of an Olympic marathon was not precisely fixed at first, but the marathon races in the first few Olympic Games were about ,Bryant, J. (2007) 100 Years and Still Running, ''Marathon News'' roughly the distance from Marathon to Athens by the longer, flatter route. The exact length depended on the route established for each venue.


1908 Olympics

The
International Olympic Committee The International Olympic Committee (IOC; french: Comité international olympique, CIO) is a non-governmental sports organisation based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Founded by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas in 1894, it is the authorit ...
agreed in 1907 that the distance for the 1908 London Olympic marathon would be about 25 miles or 40 kilometres. The organisers decided on a course of 26 miles from the start at
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the English and succeeding British royal family, and embodies almost 1,000 years of architectural history. The original castl ...
to the royal entrance to the
White City Stadium The White City Stadium was a stadium located in White City, London, England. Built for the 1908 Summer Olympics, it hosted the finish of the first modern marathon and other sports like swimming, speedway, boxing, show jumping, athletics, stock ...
, followed by a lap (586 yards 2 feet; 536 m) of the track, finishing in front of the Royal Box. The course was later altered to use a different entrance to the stadium, followed by a partial lap of 385 yards to the same finish. The modern standard distance for the marathon was set by the
International Amateur Athletic Federation World Athletics (name since October 2019, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation and International Association of Athletics Federations, both abbreviated as the IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of ...
(IAAF) in May 1921 directly from the length used at the
1908 Summer Olympics The 1908 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IV Olympiad, and commonly known as London 1908, was an international multi-sport event held in London, United Kingdom, from 27 April to 31 October 1908. The 1908 Games were origina ...
in London.


IAAF and world records

An official IAAF marathon course is 42.195 km (42 m tolerance only in excess).IAAF Competition Rules 2012–2013 – Rule 240
. None. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
Course officials add a
short course prevention factorThe short course prevention factor (SCPF) is a multiplicative factor or coefficient used in the sport of athletics, specifically road running, to ensure that the measured length of a course is at least as long as the desired length of the course. Wor ...
of up to one metre per kilometre to their measurements to reduce the risk of a measuring error producing a length below the minimum distance. For events governed by IAAF rules, it is mandatory that the route be marked so that all competitors can see the distance covered in kilometres. The rules make no mention of the use of miles. The IAAF will only recognise
world record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill, sport, or other kind of activity. The book ''Guinness World Records'' collates and publishes notable record ...
s that are established at events that are run under IAAF rules. For major events, it is customary to publish competitors' timings at the midway mark and also at 5 km splits; marathon runners can be credited with world records for lesser distances recognised by the IAAF (such as 20 km, 30 km and so on) if such records are established while the runner is running a marathon, and completes the marathon course.


Marathon races

Annually, more than 800 marathons are organized worldwide. Some of these belong to the
Association of International Marathons and Distance Races The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, also known as AIMS, is an association of the organisers of long-distance road running races. It was founded in 1982 at a meeting in London of marathon race directors. Its membership was ...
(AIMS) which has grown since its foundation in 1982 to embrace over 300 member events in 83 countries and territories. The marathons of
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the most-populous city of the European Union, according to population within city limits. One of Ger ...

Berlin
,
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st most populous city in the country. The city proper covers with an estimated population of 692, ...
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivisio ...
,
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...

London
,
New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the Unit ...
and
Tokyo Tokyo ( , ; Japanese: 東京, ''Tōkyō'' ), officially the Tokyo Metropolis (Japanese: 東京都, ''Tōkyō-to''), is the de facto capitalNo Japanese law has designated Tokyo as the Japanese capital. and most populous prefecture of Japan. ...
form the
biennial Biennial means (an event) lasting for two years or occurring every two years. The related term biennium is used in reference to a period of two years. In particular, it can refer to: * Biennial plant, a plant which blooms in its second year and the ...
World Marathon Majors The World Marathon Majors (WMM) (known for sponsorship reasons as the Abbott World Marathon Majors) is a championship-style competition for marathon runners that started in 2006. A points-based competition founded on six major marathon races recogn ...
series, awarding $500,000 annually to the best overall male and female performers in the series. In 2006, the editors of
Runner's World ''Runner's World'' is a globally circulated monthly magazine for runners of all skills sets, published by Hearst in Easton, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Beginnings ''Runner's World'' was originally launched in 1966 by Bob Anderson as ''Dist ...
selected a "World's Top 10 Marathons", in which the
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the urban area and 2,480,394 in the metropolitan area. Found within the province of North Holland, Ams ...
,
Honolulu Honolulu (; ) is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Hawaii, which is located in the Pacific Ocean. It is an unincorporated county seat of the consolidated City and County of Honolulu, situated along the southeast coast of the isla ...
,
Paris Paris () is the capital and most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2018, in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, co ...
, Rotterdam Marathon, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Marathon, Stockholm marathons were featured along with the five original World Marathon Majors events (excluding Tokyo). Other notable large marathons include United States Marine Corps Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, Los Angeles, and Rome Marathon, Rome. The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, inspired by the success of the 1896 Olympic marathon and held every year since 1897 to celebrate Patriots' Day, a holiday marking the beginning of the American Revolution, thereby purposely linking Athens, Athenian and American struggle for democracy. The oldest annual marathon in Europe is the Košice Peace Marathon, held since 1924 in Košice, Slovakia. The historic Polytechnic Marathon was discontinued in 1996. The
Athens Classic Marathon The Athens Classic Marathon The Authentic is an annual marathon road race held in Athens, Greece, normally in early November (the second Sunday of November), since 1972. It also often serves as Greece's national marathon championships. The race a ...
traces the route of the 1896 Olympic course, starting in
Marathon The marathon is a long-distance race with an official distance of , 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 ...
on the eastern coast of Attica, site of the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian fo ...
of 490 BC, and ending at the Panathenaic Stadium in
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 485 874 ...
. The Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon, Midnight Sun Marathon is held in Tromsø, Norway at 70th parallel north, 70 degrees north. Using unofficial and temporary courses, measured by GPS, races of marathon distance are now held at the North Pole, in Antarctica and over desert terrain. Other unusual marathons include the Great Wall Marathon on The Great Wall of China, the Big Five Marathon among the safari wildlife of South Africa, the Great Tibetan Marathon – a marathon in an atmosphere of Tibetan Buddhism at an altitude of , and the Polar Circle Marathon on the permanent ice cap of Greenland. The Istanbul Marathon is the only marathon where participants run over two continents (Europe and Asia) during the course of a single event. In the Detroit Free Press Marathon, participants cross the US/Canada border twice. The Niagara Falls International Marathon includes one international border crossing, via the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, New York, Buffalo, New York, United States to Fort Erie, Ontario, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. In the , participants run through Germany, Switzerland and Austria. On 20 March 2018, an indoor Marathon took place in the Armory in New York City. The 200 m track saw a world record in the women's and men's field. Lindsey Scherf (USA) set the indoor women's world record with 2:40:55. Malcolm Richards (USA) won in 2:19:01 with a male indoor world record.


Wheelchair division

Many marathons feature a wheelchair division. Typically, those in the wheelchair racing division start their races earlier than their running counterparts. The first wheelchair marathon was in 1974 in Toledo, Ohio, won by Bob Hall in 2:54. Hall competed in the 1975
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
and finished in 2:58, inaugurating the introduction of wheelchair divisions into the Boston Marathon. From 1977 the race was declared the US National Wheelchair championship. The Boston Marathon awards $10,000 to the winning push-rim athlete. Ernst van Dyk has won the Boston Marathon wheelchair division ten times and holds the world record at 1:18:27, set in Boston in 2004. Jean Driscoll won eight times (seven consecutively) and holds the women's world record at 1:34:22. The New York City Marathon banned wheelchair entrants in 1977, citing safety concerns, but then voluntarily allowed Bob Hall to compete after the state Division of Human Rights ordered the marathon to show cause. The Division ruled in 1979 that the New York City Marathon and New York Road Runners club had to allow wheelchair athletes to compete, and confirmed this at appeal in 1980, but the New York Supreme Court, State Supreme Court ruled in 1981 that a ban on wheelchair racers was not discriminatory as the marathon was historically a foot race. However, by 1986 14 wheelchair athletes were competing, and an official wheelchair division was added to the marathon in 2000. Some of the quickest people to complete a wheel-chair marathon include Thomas Geierpichler (Austria) who won gold in men's T52-class marathon (no lower limb function) in 1 hr 49 min 7 sec in Beijing China, on 17 September 2008; and, Heinz Frei (Switzerland) who won the men's T54 marathon (for racers with spinal cord injuries) in a time of 1 hr 20 min and 14 sec in Oita, Japan, 31 October 1999.


Statistics


World records and world's best

World records were not officially recognized by the IAAF until 1 January 2004; previously, the best times for the marathon were referred to as the 'world best'. Courses must conform to IAAF standards for a record to be recognized. However, marathon routes still vary greatly in elevation, course, and surface, making exact comparisons impossible. Typically, the fastest times are set over relatively flat courses near sea level, during good weather conditions and with the assistance of Pacemaker (running), pacesetters. The current world record time for men over the distance is 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds, set in the Berlin Marathon by Eliud Kipchoge of
Kenya Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya ( sw, Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Eastern Africa. At , Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 47.6 million people in the 2019 census, Kenya is the ...
on 16 September 2018, an improvement of 1 minute 18 seconds over the previous record also set in the Berlin Marathon by Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, also of
Kenya Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya ( sw, Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in Eastern Africa. At , Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 47.6 million people in the 2019 census, Kenya is the ...
on 28 September 2014. The world record for women was set by Brigid Kosgei of Kenya in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October 2019, in 2 hours 14 minutes and 4 seconds who broke the record Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain had set over 16 years earlier at the London Marathon.


All-time top 25

: ''Correct .'' Notes * Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) ran a time of 1:59:40.2 at the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna on 12 October 2019 that was run with the assistance of fuel and hydration on demand, and in-out pacemakers. Therefore, this attempt is not eligible for official ratification. This was faster than his previous assisted run of 2:00:25 at the Nike, Inc., Nike Breaking2 in Monza on 6 May 2017, which was also ineligible. * Geoffrey Mutai (Kenya) ran a time of 2:03:02 at the Boston Marathon on 18 April 2011 that was run on an assisted course (in the case of Boston, a point-to-point, net downhill course in excess of the standards) and is therefore ineligible for record purposes per IAAF rule 260.28 * Moses Mosop (Kenya) ran a time of 2:03:06 at the Boston Marathon on 18 April 2011 that was run on an assisted course and is therefore ineligible for record purposes per IAAF rule 260.28 * Marius Kipserem (Kenya) ran a time of 2:04:04 at the Abu Dhabi Marathon on 7 December 2018 that was not recognized by IAAF Below is a list of all other times equal or faster than 2:04:15: * Eliud Kipchoge also ran 2:02:37 (2019), 2:03:05 (2016), 2:03:32 (2017), 2:04:00 (2015), 2:04:05 (2013), and 2:04:11 (2014). * Kenenisa Bekele also ran 2:03:03 (2016). * Birhanu Legese also ran 2:03:16 (2020) and 2:04:15 (2018, 2020). * Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich also ran 2:03:23 (2013), 2:03:42 (2011), and 2:03:58 (2017). * Dennis Kimetto also ran 2:03:45 (2013). * Emmanuel Mutai also ran 2:03:52 (2013). * Mosinet Geremew also ran 2:04:00 (2018). * Lawrence Cherono also ran 2:04:06 (2018). * Sisay Lemma also ran 2:04:08 (2018). * Tamirat Tola also ran 2:04:11 (2017). Notes * Liliya Shobukhova (Russia) ran a time of 2:18:20 at the Chicago Marathon on 9 October 2011 that was annulled due to doping offense. * Rita Sitienei Jeptoo (Kenya) ran a time of 2:18:57 at the Boston Marathon on 21 April 2014 that was run on an assisted course and is therefore ineligible for record purposes per IAAF rule 260.28. This mark was later annulled due to doping violatons. Below is a list of all other times equal or faster than 2:19:34: * Paula Radcliffe also ran 2:17:18 (2002), 2:17:42 (2005), 2:18:56 (2002). * Brigid Kosgei also ran 2:18:20 (2019), 2:18:35 (2018), 2:18:58 (2020). * Tirunesh Dibaba also ran 2:18:30 (2017), 2:18:55 (2018). * Ruth Chepngetich also ran 2:18:35 (2018). * Mary Jepkosgei Keitany also ran 2:18:37 (2012), 2:19:19 (2011). * Birhane Dibaba also ran 2:18:46 (2019). * Vivian Cheruiyot also ran 2:18:51 (2019). * Roza Dereje also ran 2:19:17 (2018). * Gladys Cherono also ran 2:19:25 (2015). * Catherine Ndereba also ran 2:19:26 (2002).


Season's Bests


Men


Women


Oldest marathoner

Fauja Singh, then 100, finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, becoming the first centenarian ever to officially complete that distance. Singh, a British citizen, finished the race on 16 October 2011 with a time of 8:11:05.9, making him the oldest marathoner. Because Singh could not produce a birth certificate from rural 1911 Colonial India, the place of his birth, his age could not be verified and his record was not accepted by the official governing body World Masters Athletics. Johnny Kelley ran his last full
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
at the documented age of 84 in 1992. He previously had won the Boston Marathon in both 1935 and 1945 respectively. Between 1934 and 1950, Johnny finished in the top five 15 times, consistently running in the 2:30s and finishing in second place a record seven times at Boston. A fixture at Boston for more than a half century, his 1992 61st start and 58th finish in Boston is a record which still stands today. Gladys Burrill, a 92-year-old Prospect, Oregon woman and part-time resident of Hawaii, previously held the ''Guinness World Records'' title of oldest person to complete a marathon with her 9 hours 53 minutes performance at the 2010 Honolulu Marathon. The records of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, at that time, however, suggested that Singh was overall the oldest marathoner, completing the 2004 London Marathon at the age of 93 years and 17 days, and that Burrill was the oldest female marathoner, completing the 2010 Honolulu Marathon at the age of 92 years and 19 days. Singh's age was also reported to be 93 by other sources. In 2015, 92-year-old Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, North Carolina, completed the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon in 7 hours 24 minutes 36 seconds, thus becoming the oldest woman to complete a marathon. While Gladys Burrill was 92 years and 19 days old when she completed her record-setting marathon, Harriette Thompson was 92 years and 65 days old when she completed hers. English born Canadian Ed Whitlock is the oldest to complete a marathon in under 3 hours at age 74, and under 4 hours at age 85.


Youngest marathoner

Budhia Singh, a boy from Odisha, India, completed his first marathon at age five. He trained under the coach Biranchi Das, who saw potential in him. In May 2006, Budhia was temporarily banned from running by the ministers of child welfare, as his life could be at risk. His coach was also arrested for exploiting and cruelty to a child and was later murdered in an unrelated incident. Budhia is now at a state-run sports academy. The youngest under 4 hours is Mary Etta Boitano at age 7 years, 284 days; under 3 hours Julie Mullin at 10 years 180 days; and under 2:50 Carrie Garritson at 11 years 116 days.


Participation

In 2016, Running USA estimated that there were approximately 507,600 marathon finishers in the United States, while other sources reported greater than 550,000 finishers. The chart below from Running USA provides the estimated U.S. Marathon Finisher totals going back to 1976. Marathon running has become an obsession in China, with 22 marathon races in 2011 increasing to 400 in 2017. In 2015, 75 Chinese runners participated in the Boston Marathon and this increased to 278 in 2017.


Multiple marathons

As marathon running has become more popular, some athletes have undertaken challenges involving running a series of marathons. The 100 Marathon Club is intended to provide a focal point for all runners, particularly from the United Kingdom or Ireland, who have completed 100 or more races of marathon distance or longer. At least 10 of these events must be United Kingdom or Ireland Road Marathons. Club chairman Roger Biggs has run more than 700 marathons or ultras. Brian Mills completed his 800th marathon on 17 September 2011. Steve Edwards, a member of the 100 Marathon Club, set the world record for running 500 marathons in the fastest average finish time of 3 hours 15 minutes, at the same time becoming the first man to run 500 marathons with an official time below 3 hours 30 minutes, on 11 November 2012 at Milton Keynes, England. The records took 24 years to achieve. Edwards was 49 at the time. Over 350 individuals have completed a marathon in each state of the United States plus Washington, D.C. and some have done it as many as eight times.50&DC Marathon Group U.S.A.
. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
Beverly Paquin, a 22-year-old nurse from Iowa, was the youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states in 2010. A few weeks later, still in 2010, Morgan Cummings (also 22) became the youngest woman to complete a marathon in all 50 states and DC. In 2004, Chuck Bryant of Miami, Florida, who lost his right leg below the knee, became the first amputee to finish this circuit. Bryant has completed a total of 59 marathons on his prosthesis. Twenty-seven people have run a marathon on each of the seven continents, and 31 people have run a marathon in each of the Canadian provinces. In 1980, in what was termed the Marathon of Hope, Terry Fox, who had lost a leg to cancer and so ran with one artificial leg, attained of his proposed cross-Canada cancer fundraising run, maintaining an average of over , close to the planned marathon distance, for each of 143 consecutive days. On 25 September 2011, Patrick Finney of Grapevine, Texas became the first person with multiple sclerosis to finish a marathon in each state of the United States. In 2004, "the disease had left him unable to walk. But unwilling to endure a life of infirmity, Finney managed to regain his ability to balance on two feet, to walk – and eventually to run – through extensive rehabilitation therapy and new medications." In 2003, British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. He completed this feat despite suffering from a heart attack and undergoing a double heart bypass operation just four months before. This feat has since been eclipsed by Irish ultramarathon runner Richard Donovan (runner), Richard Donovan who in 2009 completed seven marathons on seven continents in under 132 hours (five and a half days). Starting 1 February 2012 he improved on this by completing the 7 on 7 in under 120 hours or in less than five days. On 30 November 2013, 69-year-old Larry Macon set a Guinness World Record for Most Marathons Run in a Year by Man by running 238 marathons. Larry Macon celebrated his 1,000th career marathon at the Cowtown Marathon in Ft. Worth on 24 February 2013. Other goals are to attempt to run marathons on a series of consecutive weekends (Richard Worley on 159 weekends), or to run the most marathons during a particular year or the most in a lifetime. A pioneer in running multiple marathons was Sy Mah of Toledo, Ohio, who ran 524 before he died in 1988. As of 30 June 2007, Horst Preisler of Germany had successfully completed 1214 marathons plus 347 ultramarathons, a total of 1561 events at marathon distance or longer. Sigrid Eichner, Christian Hottas and Hans-Joachim Meyer have also all completed over 1000 marathons each. Norm Frank of the United States is credited with 945 marathons. Christian Hottas is meanwhile the first runner who ever completed 2000 marathons. He ran his 2000th at TUI Marathon Hannover on 5 May 2013 together with a group of more than 80 friends from 11 countries, including 8 officers from the 100 Marathons Clubs U.K., North-America, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Italy. Hottas completed his 2500th marathon on 4 December 2016. In 2010, Stefaan Engels, a Belgian, set out to run the marathon distance every day of the year. Because of a foot injury he had to resort to a handcycle near the end of January 2010. However, on 5 February he was fully recovered and decided to reset the counter back to zero. By 30 March he broke the existing record of Akinori Kusuda, from Japan, who completed 52 marathons in a row in 2009. On 5 February 2011, Engels had run 365 marathon distances in as many days. Ricardo Abad, Ricardo Abad Martínez, from Spain, later ran 150 marathons in 150 consecutive days in 2009, and subsequently 500 marathons in a row, from October 2010 to February 2012. Some runners compete to run the same marathons for the most consecutive years. For example, Johnny Kelley completed 58 Boston Marathons (he entered the race 61 times). Currently, the longest consecutive streak of Boston Marathon finishes—45 in a row—is held by Bennett Beach, of Bethesda, Maryland.


Olympic medalists


Men


Women


World Championships medalists


Men


Women


General participation

Most participants do not run a marathon to win. More important for most runners is their personal finishing time and their placement within their specific gender and age group, though some runners just want to finish. Strategies for completing a marathon include running the whole distance and a run–walk strategy. In 2005, the average marathon time in the U.S. was 4 hours 32 minutes 8 seconds for men, 5 hours 6 minutes 8 seconds for women. In 2015, the men's and women's median marathon times were 4 hours 20 minutes 13 seconds and 4 hours 45 minutes 30 seconds respectively. A goal many runners aim for is to break certain time barriers. For example, recreational first-timers often try to run the marathon under four hours; more competitive runners may attempt to finish under three hours. Other benchmarks are the qualifying times for major marathons. The
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
, the oldest marathon in the United States, requires a qualifying time for all non-professional runners. The New York City Marathon also requires a qualifying time for guaranteed entry, at a significantly faster pace than Boston's. Typically, there is a maximum allowed time of about six hours after which the marathon route is closed, although some larger marathons keep the course open considerably longer (eight hours or more). Many marathons around the world have such time limits by which all runners must have crossed the finish line. Anyone slower than the limit will be picked up by a sweeper bus. In many cases the marathon organizers are required to reopen the roads to the public so that traffic can return to normal. With the growth in popularity of marathon-running, many marathons across the United States and the world have been filling to capacity faster than ever before. When the Boston Marathon opened up registration for its 2011 running, the field capacity was filled within eight hours.


Training

The long run is an important element in marathon training. Recreational runners commonly try to reach a maximum of about in their longest weekly run and a total of about a week when training for the marathon, but wide variability exists in practice and in recommendations. More experienced marathoners may run a longer distance during the week. Greater weekly training mileages can offer greater results in terms of distance and endurance, but also carry a greater risk of training injury. Most male elite marathon runners will have weekly mileages of over . It is recommended that those new to running should get a checkup from their doctor, as there are certain warning signs and risk factors that should be evaluated before undertaking any new workout program, especially marathon training. Many training programs last a minimum of five or six months, with a gradual increase in the distance run and finally, for recovery, a period of tapering in the one to three weeks preceding the race. For beginners wishing to merely finish a marathon, a minimum of four months of running four days a week is recommended. Many trainers recommend a weekly increase in mileage of no more than 10%. It is also often advised to maintain a consistent running program for six weeks or so before beginning a marathon training program, to allow the body to adapt to the new stresses. The marathon training program itself would suppose variation between hard and easy training, with a periodization of the general plan. Training programs can be found at the websites of
Runner's World ''Runner's World'' is a globally circulated monthly magazine for runners of all skills sets, published by Hearst in Easton, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Beginnings ''Runner's World'' was originally launched in 1966 by Bob Anderson as ''Dist ...
, Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and the Boston Athletic Association, and in numerous other published sources, including the websites of specific marathons. The last long training run might be undertaken up to two weeks prior to the event. Many marathon runners also carbohydrate loading, "carbo-load" (increase carbohydrate intake while holding total caloric intake constant) during the week before the marathon to allow their bodies to store more glycogen.


Glycogen and "the wall"

Carbohydrates that a person eats are converted by the liver and muscles into glycogen for storage. Glycogen burns rapidly to provide quick energy. Runners can store about 8 joule, MJ or 2,000 calorie, kcal worth of glycogen in their bodies, enough for about 30 km/18–20 miles of running. Many runners report that running becomes noticeably more difficult at that point. When glycogen runs low, the body must then obtain energy by burning stored fat, which does not burn as readily. When this happens, the runner will experience dramatic fatigue and is said to "hitting the wall, hit the wall". The aim of training for the marathon, according to many coaches, is to maximize the limited glycogen available so that the fatigue of the "wall" is not as dramatic. This is accomplished in part by utilizing a higher percentage of energy from burned fat even during the early phase of the race, thus conserving glycogen. Carbohydrate-based "energy gels" are used by runners to avoid or reduce the effect of "hitting the wall", as they provide easy to digest energy during the run. Energy gels usually contain varying amounts of sodium and potassium and some also contain caffeine. They need to be consumed with a certain amount of water. Recommendations for how often to take an energy gel during the race range widely. Alternatives to gels include various forms of concentrated sugars, and foods high in simple carbohydrates that can be digested easily. Many runners experiment with consuming energy supplements during training runs to determine what works best for them. Consumption of food while running sometimes makes the runner sick. Runners are advised not to ingest a new food or medicine just prior to or during a race. It is also important to refrain from taking any of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory class of pain relievers (NSAIDs, e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen), as these drugs may change the way the kidneys regulate their blood flow and may lead to serious kidney problems, especially in cases involving moderate to severe dehydration. NSAIDS block the COX-2 enzyme pathway to prevent the production of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins may act as inflammation factors throughout the body, but they also play a crucial role in maintenance of water retention. In less than 5% of the whole population that take NSAIDS, individuals may be more negatively sensitive to renal prostaglandin synthesis inhibition.


Temperature

A study of the performance of 1.8 million participants in the Berlin, London, Paris, Boston, Chicago, and New York marathons during the years from 2001 to 2010 found that runners recorded their fastest times when the temperature was around 6 °C (43 °F), with every increase of 10 °C (18 °F) leading to a 1.5% reduction in speed. A July 2020 study found that increasing temperatures affected faster runners' performance more than slower ones.


After a marathon

Marathon participation may result in various medical, human musculoskeletal system, musculoskeletal, and dermatology, dermatological complaints. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common condition affecting runners during the first week following a marathon.Pete Pfitzinger – Lab Reports – Recovering From a Marathon, Part One
. Pfitzinger.com. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
Various types of mild exercise or massage have been recommended to alleviate pain secondary to DOMS. Dermatological issues frequently include "fissure of the nipple, jogger's nipple", "subungual hematoma, jogger's toe", and blisters. The immune system is reportedly suppressed for a short time. Changes to the blood chemistry may lead physicians to mistakenly diagnose heart malfunction. After long training runs and the marathon itself, consuming carbohydrates to replace glycogen stores and protein to aid muscle recovery is commonly recommended. In addition, soaking the lower half of the body for approximately 20 minutes in cold or ice water may force blood through the leg muscles to speed recovery.


Health risks

Marathon running has various health risks, though these can be diminished with preparation and care. Training and the races themselves can put runners under stress. While very rare, even death is a possibility during a race. Common minor health risks include blisters, tendonitis, fatigue, knee or ankle sprain, dehydration (electrolyte imbalance), and other conditions. Many are categorised as overuse injuries.


Cardiac health

In 2016, a systematic medical review found that the risk of Sudden cardiac death of athletes, sudden cardiac death during or immediately after a marathon was between 0.6 and 1.9 deaths per 100,000 participants, varying across the specific studies and the methods used, and not controlling for age or gender. Since the risk is small, cardiac screening programs for marathons are uncommon. However, this review was not an attempt to assess the overall cardiac health impact of marathon running. A 2006 study of non-elite Boston Marathon participants tested runners for certain proteins that indicate heart damage or dysfunction (see Troponin) and gave them echocardiogram scans, before and after the marathon. The study revealed that, in that sample of 60 people, runners who had averaged less than of weekly training in the 4 months before the race were most likely to show some heart damage or dysfunction, while runners who had done more than of weekly training showed few or no heart problems. According to a Canadian study presented in 2010, running a marathon can temporarily result in decreased function of more than half the muscle segments in the heart's main pumping chamber, but neighboring segments are generally able to compensate. Full recovery is reached within three months. The fitter the runner, the less the effect. The runners with decreased left ventricle function had an average peak weekly training distance of , while those who did not averaged . The marathon was held in weather. According to one of the researchers: "Regular exercise reduces cardiovascular risk by a factor of two or three in the long run, but while we're doing vigorous exercise such as marathon running, our cardiac risk increases by seven."


Hydration

Overconsumption is the most significant concern associated with water consumption during marathons. Drinking excessive amounts of fluid during a race can lead to dilution of sodium in the blood, a condition called exercise-associated hyponatremia, which may result in vomiting, seizures, coma and even death. Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, medical director for the New York City Marathon, stated in 2005: "There are no reported cases of dehydration causing death in the history of world running, but there are plenty of cases of people dying of hyponatremia." For example, Dr. Cynthia Lucero died at the age of 28 while participating in the 2002
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was inspired by t ...
. It was Lucero's second marathon. At mile 22, Lucero complained of feeling "dehydrated and rubber-legged." She soon wobbled and collapsed to the ground, and was unconscious by the time the paramedics reached her. Lucero was admitted to Brigham and Women's Hospital and died two days later. Lucero's cause of death was determined to be hyponatremic encephalopathy, a condition that causes swelling of the brain due to an imbalance of sodium in the blood known as exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH). While EAH is sometimes referred to as "water intoxication," Lucero drank large amounts of Gatorade during the race, demonstrating that runners who consume sodium-containing sports drinks in excess of thirst can still develop EAH. Because hyponatremia is caused by excessive water retention, and not just loss of sodium, consumption of sports drinks or salty foods may not prevent hyponatremia. Women are more prone to hyponatremia than men. A study in the ''New England Journal of Medicine'' found that 13% of runners completing the 2002 Boston Marathon had hyponatremia. Fluid intake should be adjusted individually as factors such as body weight, sex, climate, pace, fitness (VO2 max, VO2 max), and sweat rate are just a few variables that change fluid requirements between people and races. The International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA) advises that runners drink a sports drink that includes carbohydrates and electrolytes instead of plain water and that runners should "drink to thirst" instead of feeling compelled to drink at every fluid station. Heat exposure leads to diminished thirst drive and thirst may not be a sufficient incentive to drink in many situations. The IMMDA and HSL Harpur Hill give recommendations to drink fluid in small volumes frequently at an approximate rate falling between every 15 minutes. A patient suffering hyponatremia can be given a small volume of a concentrated sodium chloride, salt solution intravenously to raise sodium concentrations in the blood. Some runners weigh themselves before running and write the results on their bibs. If anything goes wrong, first aid workers can use the weight information to tell if the patient had consumed too much water.


Body temperature

Exertional heat stroke is an emergency condition in which thermoregulation fails and the body temperature rises dangerously above . It becomes a greater risk in warm and humid weather, even for young and fit individuals. Treatment requires rapid physical cooling of the body.


Charity involvement

Some charities seek to associate with various races. Some marathon organizers set aside a portion of their limited entry slots for charity organizations to sell to members in exchange for donations. Runners are given the option to sign up to run particular races, especially when marathon entries are no longer available to the general public. In some cases, charities organize their own marathon as a fund-raiser, gaining funds via entry fees or through sponsorships.


Culture

; Speed marathon In Europe, the speed marathon is a 24 hours event organized by TISPOL. The goal of the event is to make people think about the speeds they choose; speeds which are both legal and appropriate for the conditions. This should reduce the risk and prevent injuries. 2,463,622 vehicle speeds have been checked in 2016, on 12,706 control points in 22 countrieshttps://www.tispol.org/content/2019/02/12/10/47/tispol-operation-speed In 2018, 3.2m vehicles have been checked, with 257,397 offences (8%). ; Mars rover marathon In 2015 the Mars rover Opportunity (rover), Opportunity attained the distance of a marathon from its starting location on Mars, and the valley where it achieved this distance was called Marathon Valley, which was then explored.


See also

Records * Marathon world record progression * National records in the marathon Lists * List of marathon races * List of marathoners * List of marathon national champions (men) * List of non-professional marathon runners Related races * Ekiden (marathon relays) * Half marathon * Ultramarathon Other endurance races * Ironman Triathlon * Mountain marathon * Multi-day race * Ski marathon Organizations * 100 Marathon Club Notable races * Ineos 1:59 Challenge * Man versus Horse Marathon * Marathons at the Paralympics Other related topics * Pacemaker (running) * Physiology of marathons


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Hans-Joachim Gehrke, "From Athenian identity to European ethnicity: The cultural biography of the myth of Marathon," in Ton Derks, Nico Roymans (ed.), ''Ethnic Constructs in Antiquity: The Role of Power and Tradition'' (Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, 2009) (Amsterdam Archaeological Studies, 13), 85–100. * Hans W. Giessen: Mythos Marathon. Von Herodot über Bréal bis zur Gegenwart. (= Landauer Schriften zur Kommunikations- und Kulturwissenschaft. Band 17). Verlag Empirische Pädagogik, Landau 2010 * Tom Derderian, ''Boston Marathon: History of the World's Premier Running Event'', Human Kinetics, 1994, 1996


External links


IAAF list of marathon records in XML
{{Authority control Marathons, Marathon running, * Road running distances Athletic culture based on Greek antiquity Greek inventions Long-distance running distances Summer Olympic disciplines in athletics