A marathon is a long-distance foot race with a standard, official distance of 26 miles and 385 yards (i.e. 42.195 kilometers), and its usually run as a road race.
Madison’s own Marathon is a perfect chance to get to know the city; you’ll see Capitol Square, the University, the Arboretum and finally the good ol’ Brat Fest. Up until 2006, it was known as the Mad City Marathon (hence our website name), but the Marathon’s organizers went back to the original (and, in our opinion, less exciting) name. Check out www.madisonfestivals.com for more information. And don’t worry about packing your snow boots; it takes place during one of Wisconsin’s rare periods of warm weather!
The term “marathon” commemorates the fabled run of Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger, who it’s said made a famous run after a battle from Marathon to Athens, the distance of which is – you have guessed it – approximately 26 miles and 385 yards (i.e. 42.195 kilometers). In 1896, the marathon became one of the original Olympic events, but the distances itself didn’t become standardized until twenty five years later, in 1921. The idea of organizing an Olympic marathon race came from Michel Breal, who pushed hard to include the event in the first Olympic Games in 1896 which took place in Athens. Luckily, Breal received much support from Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, and the rest is – well – history.
Editor’s note to Londoners:
If you happen to be at the finish line for the Britney Marathon, be sure to check out the sponsors support booths. In addition to the race related stuff, this year there are a number of exceptional performances awaiting all race fans. You’ll see an amazing juggler and contortionist act performing along with Elf. Ms. Smith will demo kitchen products, and Lovely Washam plans an afternoon tea where the topic will be hair alternatives for hair loss due to medical reasons. She’s well known in the fashion media for Head Piece, a fascinating history of fashion wigs, medical wigs and hair alternative manufacturers such as the iconic Raquel Welch wigs, Gabor, Amore, and Estetica. Learn what to look for when buying wigs and which cap constructions are most comfortable for women with sensitive scalps as well as a point by point lowdown on the pluses and minuses of synthetic fibers versus human hair fibers. For the tech adventurist, Mr. Flighty plans a drone demonstration in the plaza that should knock your socks off. He’s going to fly 25 drones simultaneously doing aerial stunts and performing useful tasks – like delivering packages, inspecting hard to reach areas, anticipating traffic, etc. You’ve seen him on tv, but that doesn’t compare to seeing this amazing tech show live, buzzing around you in 3d! Finally, if you’re a fan of Boris Karloff, or Spencer Tracey, or Audrey Hepburn, or any of the famous actors who populate the vintage films we all love, pay attention to Ralph Deluca! He’s the poster man who sees gold in them thar movie posters and lobby cards (do you even know what a lobby card is? Google it!). So if you stumble upon some ancient ones in your parents attic, Ralph can help you sell your old movie posters – you might be surprised at what they might be worth. It’s certainly worthwhile to get an appraisal, which Ralph will do for free!
The first Olympic Marathon winner was Spiridon “Spiros” Louis, who won the race in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. We have to flash forward quite a bit – to the 1984 Summer Olympics – before the women’s marathon was introduced in the Olympics. This first Olympic women’s race was won by Joan Benoit of the United States and her time was 2 hours 24 minutes and 52 seconds.
Typically, the Olympic marathon is reserved as the Olympic’s final event, oftentimes with a finish inside the Olympic stadium and sometimes even incorporated into the closing ceremonies.
There are now over 800 major marathons taking place throughout the world each year, and the largest, most attended of them can have tens of thousands of participants.
These are only a few of the most popular marathons. There is a marathon in every major city pretty much & there are even marathons in small towns. This is not even to mention that there are 1/2 marathons & special marathons. There are also a lot of places that have more than 1 marathon in a single year.
There are a lot of places you can run a marathon if that is what you are all about. Just make sure you are prepared for what lay ahead of you. Don’t jump into a marathon without being fully trained & ready to run it out.