Thursday, September 3, 2015

How did the Marathon get its name?

You might not know how far a marathon is or the difficulties involved with running that far, but you probably know that is it a long distance running race.  The story behind its beginnings is interesting, so I wanted to share it with you.  There are multiple accounts about the history of the marathon with different people as the main character, different routes taken, and time it took place, so I will share the most commonly believed story.  

The name Marathon comes from the Greek messenger Pheidippides.  In August or September of 490 BC, there was a Battle of Marathon in Greece.  Here is the awesome part.  Pheidippides ran from the battle fields in Marathon the Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated.  He ran the entire distance without stopping.  He burst into the Assembly, announced “we have won,” collapsed and died.  

That distance between Marathon and Athens is either 21.4 miles on a mountainous road or 25.4 miles on a flatter road.  It is believed that Pheidippides took the mountainous road because there were still Persians soldiers on the flatter road.  The distance of the modern marathon was set at 26 miles and 385 yards in 1921.  The Marathon was one of the original events in the Modern Olympics in 1896.   

There were over 500 marathon events in 2014 worldwide.  The records are amazing to say the least.

Men’s Fastest Marathon Finish: 2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds (4:41 min/mile average pace) by Dennis Kimetto from Kenya (Berlin Marathon) September 28, 2014

Women’s Fastest Marathon Finish: 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds (5:09 min/mile average pace) by Paula Radcliffe from the United Kingdom (London Marathon) April 13, 2003

I thought this story was extremely inspiring since I will be running my first marathon, the California International Marathon) in December.  My goal is to finish in 4 hours, which is about a 9:10 min/mile average pace.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity to challenge myself and surpass what I thought my body was capable of doing.  My journey from not being able to run for 2 minutes (2.5 years ago) to completing 7 half marathons and training for my first full marathon amazes me.  You never know what you can do until you set goals and follow a plan.  Anything is possible.  I would love to hear about your journey and your goals.  Please share them with me. 


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