Search This Blog

Sunday, 20 March 2016


Pheidippides became the original marathon runner in 490 BC when he run 26 miles to break the news to the Athenians of their victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. shouting, "Rejoice! We conquer!" With his last breath he reported the victory. Gasping, "Rejoice - we conquered," he collapsed and died. To honor that legendary runner, the marathon race was made a part of the modern Olympic Games, first held in Athens in 1896.

Luc-Olivier Merson's painting depicting Pheidippides giving word of victory at the Battle of Marathon to the Athenians

Charilaos Vasilakos won the first modern marathon on March 22, 1896 in a qualifying race for the Athens Olympics. His time was 3 hours and 18 minutes.

Greek runner Spyridon Belokas came third in the 1896 Olympic marathon, but was disqualified for taking a lift in a carriage.

The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon is always held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. It was first run on April 19, 1897, inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics  The inaugural winner was John J. "JJ" McDermott, who ran the 24.5 mile course in 2:55:10, leading a field of 15.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and the second longest continuously running footrace in North America, having debuted five months after the Buffalo Turkey Trot.

Boston Marathon Finish Line, 1910
The Tswana tribesman Len Tau finished ninth in the 1904 Olympic marathon after being chased a mile off course by dogs.

Thomas Hicks ran the 1904 Olympic marathon while drinking a mix of egg whites, strychnine and brandy which made him hallucinate and become sick. His trainers had to carry him over the finish line but he was still declared the winner, with the slowest gold medal time in Olympic marathon history.

Originally the marathon was 25 miles. It was extended to 26 miles for the July 24, 1908 London Olympics race so that King Edward's grandchildren could watch the start of the marathon and Queen Alexandria could see the finish from the royal box.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was one of the British officials for the marathon at the 1908 London Olympics. The crowd went mad as the Italian Dorando Pietri sprinted into the lead as he neared the stadium. However  as Pietri entered the stadium, he staggered the wrong direction and collapsed, rose weakly and collapsed again. Doyle and other English officials sprinted onto the track, lifted Pietri up and carried him across the finish line where he finally collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

Dorando Pietri of Italy, on the verge of collapse, is helped across the finish line 

Meanwhile the American, Johnny Hayes had entered the stadium and he effortlessly circled the track and crossed the finishing line. He was mortified when he heard the Italian was given first place. For hours there was pandemonium. Finally after a long, angry debate, Hayes was made the winner.

The world’s first indoor marathon was run at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1909. The athletes ran 524 times around the hall.

Shizo Kanakuri was a Japanese athlete who collapsed during the 1912 Stockholm Olympics marathon. Embarrassed, he went home without notifying race officials. He eventually came back to finish, with a time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.

Computer pioneer Alan Turing was a world class distance runner with a personal marathon time of 2:46:03, achieved in 1946.

Abebe Bikila: (1932-73) was an Ethiopian marathon runner. Virtually unknown, and running in bare feet, he won the marathon at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, setting a new world record and becoming the first black African to win a gold medal.

Bobbi Gibb was the first woman to have run the entire Boston Marathon in 1966. At the time when women were banned from entering because of their gender, she entered the race wearing her brother’s Bermuda shorts and a hooded sweatshirt and finished the race unofficially.

In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

Rosie Ruiz (born 1953) is a Cuban American runner who was declared the winner in the female category for the 1980 Boston Marathon in 1980. Reporters noticed she wasn't that sweaty and didn't seem that tired at all. It turned out she took the subway the majority of the route and simply sneaked back into the race to win. As a result, Ruiz had her title stripped eight days after the race.

The first London marathon took place on March 29, 1981. 6,747 were accepted and 6,255 crossed the finish line on Constitution Hill. Around one million people lined the streets of Britain's capital to watch.

In 1983, 61-year-old Australian potato farmer  Cliff Young won the inaugural Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra-marathon, a distance of 875 kilometres (544 mi). Young had no previous race experience and he said he decided to run an Ultra-marathon because he ran chasing sheep all day anyway. He developed his own style having no experience or training, running while other slept and won by over ten hours.

Astronaut Sunita Williams was the first person to run a marathon in space. On April 16, 2007 she ran it in four hours and 24 minutes  on a treadmill aboard the International Space Station. Her "race" coincided with the 2007 Boston Marathon.

Williams exercises on COLBERT during ISS Expedition 32

Fauja Singh is the oldest marathoner ever. At the age of 100 he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a time of 8:11:05 on October 16, 2011.

The world's youngest marathon runner, Budhia Singh completed his first marathon at the age of three. He had ran 48 marathons by the age of four.

The oldest married couple to run a marathon had a combined age of 161 years and 349 days. Masatsugu and Ryoko Uchida, from Japan, were 82 and 79 when they ran the Osaka Marathon on October 25, 2015. Ryoko did it in five hours, 40 minutes and 28 seconds; her husband in six hours, 31 minutes and 39 seconds.

In 2017, Kansas City resident Chau Smith ran seven marathons in seven consecutive days on seven continents in celebration of her 70th birthday.

Comedian Eddie Izzard completed 27 Marathons in 27 days.

In April 2017, German Markus Jürgens set a new record by running a marathon backwards in 3hr 38min 27sec.

Humans are the best long-distance runners on the planet, able to beat horses (and any other animal) in marathon distance races.

There are no reported cases of runners dying of dehydration during marathons — but there are plenty of cases of runners dying from water intoxication.

Source Daily Express

No comments:

Post a Comment