if you are sick of reading about running and marathons. you can stop reading now.
i've decided to dig into the history of the crazy 26.2 mile race as i brace myself for my first marathon in a short 6 days. to me, it's a fascinating race. maybe i'll change my mind after next sunday, but for now, i just pray and prepare myself for something that i've been dreaming of doing. completeing a full 26.2 miles without stopping - continuous running - in an organized fashion.
i really know nothing about the definition of a runner, or even that there is one. i think everyone can have their own definition. if you run everyday you are a true runner. if you run a half-marathon. if you run competitively. if you do this or you do that. for me, this will be defined by the marathon. i've dreamed of doing this, and for a long time I just honestly thought it was crazy talk and that there would be no way that I would ever be able to complete 26.2 miles. and then I had banks, and i thought the dream was over. after having him, i honestly felt like my body would NEVER be the same and that running any further than down the hall to stop him from getting into something or fast enough to get there before he hurt himself, would be about all the running i did. and then i thought, i want banks to be proud of his mama. i want to be able to tell him about motivation, determination, and succeeding in reaching goals. so, then it began. i can do this.
the history of the marathon is just about as crazy as running it. here are a few tid-bits for ya.
- The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.
- Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message "Niki!" ("victory"), then collapsed and died.
SERIOUSLY? he collapsed and died? This is not cool. This does not make me feel too confident for next week. oh. em. gee.
- The Athens Marathon is recognized as the original marathon course and it's the same course used in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens.
- The first modern Olympic games were held in 1896 in Greece.
- The legend of Pheidippides was honored by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens.
- Athens Stadium, the finish line for the Athens Marathon stands on the site of a stadium used in classical times.
- Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker, won the first modern Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds, an average pace of 7:11 minutes per mile.
- At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the 2.2 miles added on so the race could finish in front of royal family's viewing box. This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.
Another interesting fact:
Long after the re-establishment of the marathon in the Olympics, distance races such as the marathon did not include female participants. Although a few women had run the marathon distance, they were not included in any official results. The marathon was deemed too grueling for women to do for quite some time. The first woman to run a marathon was Katherine Switzer in 1967.
So, there you have it. Some fun facts about this crazy 26.2 miles. Stay tuned for more this week as I countdown the days until I can cross off an item on my beloved bucket list!