Sunday, October 11, 2009

How Long is a Marathon?

Most people know a marathon to be about 26 miles. What they don’t know is why. In the year 490 B.C.E., the Persian army descended upon the Athenians at Marathon, Greece. The Greek messenger Pheidippides was sent to Sparta to request help. After the battle was over, Pheidippides was sent back to Athens to deliver the message “Νενικήκαμεν,” or “Nenikékamen,” meaning “We have won.” This distance from Marathon to Athens was about 26 miles, the distance of a marathon. After delivering the message, Pheidippides collapsed and died on the spot from exhaustion. Now, more recently, in 1896, the marathon was run in the Olympics in honor of Pheidippides. Now, the question is posed: How long is a marathon? At first glance, one would say 26 miles, but what most people don’t know is that the distance Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta to Marathon was 150 miles. He covered this distance in just two days. This event truly captures the bravery and strength of many people.

-Ryan J., period 7

1 comment:

Ryan M. said...

Another fact is that the official marathon distance comes from the 1908 London Olympics, where the route was from Windsor Castle to the Olympic Stadium plus 385 yards on a track. Setting the official distance at 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 kilometers).