Who invented running?

Where does the marathon originate?

Marathon, village in ancient Greece on the east coast of Attica, northeast of Athens. It was on a plain surrounded by mountains, swamps and the sea, in 490 BC. the famous battle between Athenians and Persians was fought. The attacking Persian army under Darius I was defeated by the Athenians under Miltiades. This enabled the Greeks to march back quickly to Athens and save the city from a Persian attack from the sea. The victory had so encouraged the Greeks that ten years later they were able to completely drive out the Persians. The burial mound that was built over the fallen Athenians at Marathon is still visible.

The marathon run over 42.195 kilometers, which is held today as an Olympic discipline, is reminiscent of the fabulous performance of a messenger who ran the distance to Athens to announce the news of victory. According to the myth, when Phidippides arrived in Athens he shouted "We have won!" and died on the spot.

The marathon of modern times

The marathon was invented by Michel Bréal, a friend of Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the modern Olympic Games). Bréal suggested that the legend of the messenger Phidippides, who in 490 BC BC brought the message of the victory of the Athenians over the Persians as an opportunity to create a central sporting event for the first resumed Olympic Games in 1896. The marathon of the Olympic Games in 1896 was also held on the legendary 40-kilometer route. It won Spiridon Louis - an event that went down in history, as did the winner who became the sport's greatest legend. Louis covered the distance in 2:58:50 hours.
It is still today classic route - from the marathon to the Panathinaikon Stadium - one of the most popular competition routes due to its high level of difficulty.

The classic route

  • Marathon (0.000km)
  • Nea. Makri (10,300km)
  • Agios. Andreas (14,150km)
  • Mati (14,700km)
  • Pikermi (22,100km)
  • Palini (27,600km)
  • Stavros (31,100km)
  • Halandri (33,100km)
  • Stadium (42,195km)

Why is the marathon 42.195 kilometers long?

One could assume that this is the distance between the Greek town of Marathon, which gave the race its name, and the capital Athens. But this is only half the truth.

When a marathon was held for the first time at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, it did not even have the name that is known worldwide today. The simple and simple reminder of the legend according to which a messenger rushed from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to proclaim the victory over the Persians. The messenger reached its destination, delivered the message, and fell dead. Whether the story is true has not been historically proven.
These first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens. On April 10, 1896, exactly this run was carried out. At that time the distance was about 38 kilometers. In 1900, at the Games in Paris, you ran exactly 40.2 kilometers, which the winner covered in 2:59:45 hours.

They did not care about the exact route measurement, sometimes 38.5 km and sometimes 41 km were run, depending on the local conditions. That was still the case in 1908, when an English princess at the Olympics in London expressed the wish to see the start of the marathon from her window in the Palace of Windsor. The course was then tailored to suit her. Due to this wish, purely by chance, the distance was exactly 42.195 kilometers. This precisely measured distance was then made binding for future games. The so-called "classic distance" does not originate from the legend of the marathon, but also from the sporting interest of a royal highness, without which the runners might today be at the finish line after 40 kilometers