Our humans are running the Munich Marathon on Sunday. In honour of this fact, we bring you:
13 Things About the Marathon
- A Marathon is 26.2 miles / 42.2 kilometres. Other races may call themselves "marathons" but an official marathon race is this distance.
- This will be our humans' third marathon together. They ran their first in the Fall of 2005, the Prince Edward County Marathon, their second was the Hamburg Marathon in April 2007. Our dad has also run one marathon by himself, the Munich Marathon last October (2007).
- The name, "marathon", comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, who was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been miraculously defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping, but moments after proclaiming his message to the city he collapsed dead from exhaustion.
- The modern marathon was first run during the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. This first Olympic marathon was 40 km (24.85 miles). It was an Olympic race for men only until 1984.
- The women's marathon was introduced at the 1984 Summer Olympics (Los Angeles, USA).
- The length of a marathon was at first not fixed since all that was important was that all athletes competed on the same course. The exact length of an Olympic marathon varied depending on the route established for each venue so the choice of distance was somewhat arbitrary.
- The marathon at the 1908 Olympic Games in London was set to measure exactly 26 miles and to start on ‘The Long Walk’ – a magnificent avenue in the grounds of Windsor Castle. At his own request it was scheduled to be started by King Edward VII personally. It was only on the day before the race that it was extended by 385 yards from its set 26 miles so that the King could start the race in the Great Courtyard of the Castle (385 yards up the hill) and so that the runners would cross the finish line in front of his wife Queen Alexandra in the Royal family's viewing box in the Olympic Arena - so the length became 42.195 km (26 miles 385 yards).
- A fixed distance of 42.195 km was adopted in 1921 by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) as the official marathon distance.
- The world record time for men over the distance is 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds, set in the Berlin Marathon by by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia on September 28, 2008.
- The world record for women was set by Paula Radcliffe of United Kingdom in the London Marathon on 13 April 2003, in 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
- In 2007, in the U.S.A. (the only country we could find statistics for) there were more than 407,000 marathon finishers.
- 0ver 12,000 runners are expected to participate in the Munich Marathon this year.
- We wish our humans all the best on Sunday! Good luck mom and dad!