Interesting Facts about the Marathon

by kbarry on July 31, 2012

With the running events still a week away we have time now to get caught up on our other favorite sports such as fencing, archery, handball and water polo.  If you haven’t seen any of those sports yet you’re missing out!  Anyways the last and final event of the Olympics is always the marathon.  It is the premiere event of the Olympics dating back to the first Olympics in 1896.  Here are a few stats and interesting facts about the marathon:

  • The first Olympic marathon was run at the Athens Olympics in 1896 with the winner running it in 2:58:50.  The distance for that race was (only) 24.8 miles.
  • The name marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides who ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to give word about the greek victory, after finishing his journey he apparently dropped dead.  I’m sure many marathoners can relate to that feeling after running a full marathon.
  • From 1896 to 1912 every Olympic marathon distance was somewhere between 24-26.5 miles. In the 1908 London Olympics Queen Alexandra wanted the race to finish right in front of the royal box hence the 26 miles 385 meters.  Based on that distance it was standardized for the 1924 Olympics and has been that way every since.
  •  The fastest men’s marathon time is 2:03:38 by Patrick Makau and the women’s fastest is 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe.
  • The oldest marathon in the world is the Boston Marathon which has been held every year since 1897
  • The oldest person to complete a marathon was 100 years old and the youngest was just 6.
  • The largest marathon in the world is the New York City Marathon with over 37,000+ finishers.  I’ve done the NYC marathon once – it’s a tough course, make sure  you incorporate hill training to get over those seven bridges along the course.
  • Anyone can run a marathon – with proper training and determination you too can complete a marathon.  Stay tuned for a series of posts on how to complete your first marathon!


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