The meaning of the word “marathon” comes from the name of the Greek city of Marathon in Attica and is associated with the legend of a Greek warrior who ran to Athens with news of victory. However, according to historians who have unearthed documentary sources, it was not quite so and not quite there.
But this did not prevent the inclusion of the marathon as a discipline in the Olympic Games and the first official race on the Marathon-Athens track in 1896. However, this distance is 34.5 km. In general, the distance of the first marathons fluctuated quite a lot, both in the smaller direction and in the larger direction. And only in the 1920s, it became established and was officially accepted for 42,195 km.
Modern rules dictate that the marathon is held on paved roads, but there are many cross-country races, sometimes with quite difficult terrain and in extreme conditions, also called marathons, even though the distance can be very different from the conventional one.
There is another one of the most popular distances – the half marathon. Accordingly, it is 21 km 97.5 m. The half-marathon is one of the significant points in the training of amateur runners who, just a few months ago, could not even run a kilometer.
At almost any running competition, half-marathons are held in parallel with the marathon for those who still find it difficult to run the full distance. Among runners, a half marathon is simply called a half.
Ironman triathlon run
The marathon is an integral, third element of the Ironman extreme triathlon competition. Accordingly, after a 3.8-kilometer swim (sometimes in icy water) and after a 180-kilometer road bike race, to wear the title of “iron man” it is necessary to run another 42 kilometers. A good result will be if you sleep at 12 o’clock. But, first, it would be good to reach the finish line at all.
A special discipline of ultramarathon running. There are no clear limits: anything more than 42.195 km is an ultramarathon. And although the most frequent competitions are held at distances of 50 and 100 km, most often the ultramarathon is first laid out on the map, and then they see how much it turned out. The duration of such titanic tests can last more than one day, moreover, in conditions unsuitable for this.
Almost all ultramarathons are associated with such a discipline as trailrunning, because most of the routes run over rough terrain.
After the first purposeful and conscious run in your life, it is difficult to refrain from setting sports goals. And if at least one of them is achieved, then a person can no longer be stopped. And that’s great. But if running has an exclusively health-improving goal, then you should not once again cross the limit of your capabilities and rush headlong into extreme loads.
Marathon: endurance test
Marathon is a sports discipline from the category of athletics. Simply put, this is a race over a distance of 42,195 kilometers. Today, the noun “marathon” has become general, it is often called any long runs that take place over rough terrain or in difficult conditions, including extreme ones.
The history of the marathon
Today, hundreds of thousands of people are engaged in marathon running. Where the name “marathon run” comes from is not known for sure. But there is a legend about the Greek warrior Philippides, who covered the distance from the Marathon plain to Athens to inform the Athenians of the victory over the Persian troops. He had to run 23 miles, but after telling the elders the glad tidings, the messenger dropped dead. This event is dated 490 BC. However, this race did not impress sports fans, so the marathon was not included in the program of the Olympic Games held in Ancient Greece. It is not surprising, since the hot climate and difficult reliefs of the area created additional problems for track and field athletes.
The history of marathon running began in Athens in 1869 – at the same time as the revival of the Olympic Games. The marathon distance is the longest running distance, which is included in the programs of the largest international sports competitions: world and European championships, Olympic Games.
Marathon as an Olympic sport
The program of the first Olympic Games held in Greece (1896) included a marathon. Since then, this marathon run is a mandatory discipline at any Olympics. During the history of the Olympic Games, the distance has changed several times. At the first games, the length of the marathon distance was forty kilometers. Victory in this race was essential for the Greeks, so they tried to do everything possible (and impossible) to win it. The winner of the first marathon was an athlete from Greece, Louis. He covered a distance of forty kilometers in 2:58:50 and immediately became a hero of the nation. True, the first triumphant marathon was the last for Louis, because after the Olympics, he no longer took part in such races.
However, it was Louis’ record that sparked interest in this type of competition. The popularity of marathon running in America and Europe grew rapidly. The duration of the distance increased several times. A constant distance of 42, 195 km was introduced in 1924.
Marathon running as an Olympic sport has acquired a deeper meaning. It was a test of endurance, a struggle with one’s own body. The main inconvenience for runners was tight clothing to keep the body warm. After several decades of experimentation, long-distance runners began to start in light clothing.
Not infrequently, the organization failed. In the 1900 Olympic marathon, only eight athletes reached the finish line. At the next Olympic Games, there were many scandals surrounding the marathon race. However, the difficulties did not stand in the way of the marathon and new records.
For almost twenty years, the Olympians failed to break the record set by the Australian Clayton at the Olympic Games in Antwerp (1969). He covered the distance of 42 kilometers in 2:08:33.
At the Beijing Games, Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru bettered that by two seconds, setting a new record of 2:06:32. The athlete admitted that this result is the limit of his physical capabilities.
To date, the best world achievement is the record of Haile Gebreselassie, who overcame the marathon distance in Berlin in 2008 in 2:03:59.
But records are needed in order to break them. It is quite likely that the marathon runners will be able to overcome the time limit at 2 hours, having made a tremendous effort.