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The history of the marathon race began almost 2500 years ago.

Then at the village of Marathon, north of the capital of Greece – Athens, the bloody battle faced the troops of the Persian king Darius and the Greek commander Miltiades.

Despite the numerical superiority of the Persians, the victory remained for the Greeks.

Miltiad, delighted, summoned his most fastidious warrior and ordered him: “Run to Athens and report on the long-awaited victory.” For more than 40 kilometers, a messenger rushed from Marathon to Athens without a break. Ran into the market square of the capital, he managed to shout: “Rejoice, we won!” – and in front of the people fell dead. The legendary feat of a young Greek warrior went down in history.

Monument to Fidippidu at the Marathon-Athens road.


At the first Olympic Games of the present in 1896, held in Athens, it was decided to run on the same route from Marathon to Athens, where the legendary warrior Fidippid escaped.

The winner of the first in the modern history of the Marathon was Spiridon Luis, who overcame the distance of 40 kilometers in 2 hours 58 minutes.

Pay attention that at the first Olympic Games of our time the distance was exactly 40 km, and not 42 km 195 m as it is now.

The start of the race was given in the city of Marathon, and the finish at the Marble stadium of Athens.

According to Pierre de Coubertin: “When Louis appeared at the stadium, the 60,000 spectators waiting for him jumped from their seats, seized with extraordinary excitement. A flock of pigeons released from the cages has reared up … Some spectators, who were closer to Louis, tried to make their way to him, so that he could be taken off the field with triumph. Louis would have been strangled in his arms if the Crown Prince and Prince George had not escorted him from the arena. ”

Famous Russian and Soviet historian Nikolai Albertovich Kuhn author of the book “Myths of Ancient Greece”, in one of his works on the Olympic Games wrote that Spiridon Luis for his victory received the following awards:

“The Golden Cup, established by the French academician Michel Brel, who insisted on including a marathon run in the Games program, a barrel of wine, a free food stamp for the year, free tailoring and use of hairdresser services throughout life, 10 centners of chocolate, 10 cows and 30 sheep. ”

Exactly 40 years after his triumph, Spiridon Luis became an honorary guest of the Olympics in Berlin. During the opening ceremony of the games, he presented Hitler with the laurel branch of the world

Spyridon Luis 40 years later. Berlin, 1936.
Spyridon Luis 40 years later. Berlin, 1936.


Subsequently, the Marathon race was included in the program of all summer Olympic Games, and also became one of the most popular and spectacular disciplines of track and field athletics.

Often at the Marathon distances, truly dramatic events took place, for example, at the 1908 London Olympics

Until 1984, the Marathon was run exclusively by men. Today, it runs and the fair sex.

To date, the world record in the Marathon belongs to Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto. September 28, 2014, he ran the distance of the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours 02 minutes 57 seconds.

Among the women’s strongest athlete is the runner from the UK Paul Radcliffe.

Her world record was 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds was set April 13, 2003 in London.

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