The marathon is 26.2 miles or 42.195 km
The distance of the marathon wasn’t standardised until 1921. It was first run over 26 miles and 385 yards at the 1908 Summer Olympics. The route started at Windsor Castle and finished at the Olympic Stadium in White City!
The marathon is the ultimate test of endurance. It’s the race that, once you have finished it, means you can happily call yourself an endurance runner. The beauty of the marathon is that it is 6 miles and 385 yards too long! If it was just 20 miles long it would be fine, but unfortunately it isn’t. The distance of the marathon is in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, who took a message from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Do spare a thought for poor old Pheidippides when running your marathon…. not only did he have to run around 150miles but he collapsed and died at the end of the run!
The distance of a marathon used to vary, and it was first run over 26 mile nad 385 yards and the London Sumer Olympics in 1908. The course was originally 26 miles, however, a partial lap was added in so the course could finish in front of the Royal Box. This partial lap was 385 yards! This marathon distance became the standardised in 1921, but it is those British Royals you can blame!
Emil Zatopek famously said, “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”
The marathon tests everything, your endurance, your mental strength, your discipline and organisation and is not something that should be entered into lightly. Dedicate yourself to training for the marathon and you will have a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Go into it half-heartedly and you will suffer. The marathon takes no prisoners. It’s you against the distance.
Marathon training isn’t just about a 16-week block of training. You are training for the marathon every time you have run. Endurance can’t be built in just 16-weeks of training, it’s built over years of running and exercise.
That said, the marathon is very achievable and to help you along the way we have a number of articles that should come in handy during your marathon journey, whether you’re just out to finish it or if you want to set a new personal best time.