How long is a marathon to the nearest mile?

Question: How long is a marathon to the nearest mile?

Show answer

26 miles.

A marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers, which is approximately 26.2 miles. This specific distance has a historical origin and has been standardized across marathon events worldwide.

The history of the marathon distance dates back to ancient Greece, and it is steeped in myth and legend. The most popular tale is that of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger, who is said to have run from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to deliver news of the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 BC. According to legend, Pheidippides ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming “Νενικήκαμεν!” (Nenikékamen, “We have won!”), before collapsing and dying from exhaustion.

The modern marathon distance was inspired by this story, but the exact length was not standardized at first. In the early modern Olympic Games, the marathon distance varied. It was not until the 1908 London Olympic Games that the distance was set at 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometers). This specific length was chosen to accommodate the British royal family: the race started at Windsor Castle so that the young princes could watch the start of the race, and finished in front of the royal box at the Olympic Stadium in London. This distance was officially adopted as the standard marathon length by the International Amateur Athletic Federation in 1921.

Since then, the marathon has become one of the most popular and iconic long-distance running events. Completing a marathon is considered a significant achievement due to the physical and mental endurance required. Marathons are held in cities worldwide, attracting both professional athletes and amateur runners. Marathon running has grown into a global sport and a significant cultural event, with millions participating in races each year.

You may also like: