Story of the Marathon

With the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon, do you know the origin of the marathon race?


The origin of the marathon race can be traced back to the legendary figure Philippides, a Greek messenger. It is said that in 490 BC, he ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message of a military victory. Philippides ran approximately 42.195 kilometers without stopping, notifying the Athenians of the Greek victory over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. Upon reaching Athens, he exclaimed "Nikē!" (meaning victory in Greek) and then collapsed and died from exhaustion.


Modern marathon races can be traced back to the late 19th century. In the 1908 London Olympics, the organizing committee established the standard distance for the marathon. At that time, the original distance of the marathon was approximately 40 kilometers, but in order for the race to start from Windsor Castle and finish in front of the Royal Box at the Olympic Stadium, the distance was extended to 42.195 kilometers.


Some say that the decision to extend the race distance was made to pass by the Royal Nursery at Windsor Castle, so that the children of the British royal family could watch the race. This modified distance became the standard distance for marathons worldwide.


Marathons gained popularity in the 20th century, not only being held at the Olympic Games but also in many other marathon races. The Boston Marathon, first held in 1897, is one of the oldest annual marathons and has now become one of the six major marathons in the world.


Today, marathons are held in cities all over the world, attracting thousands of participants and spectators. This event has become a symbol of human endurance and determination, where people from different backgrounds and fitness levels accept the challenge of completing the distance of 42.195 kilometers.


What is your reason for participating in a marathon? Leave a comment and let us know.



A history of the marathon race 490 B.C. to 1975 - Jstor Home. (1976).


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