11 Fun Facts About Marathons
We're giving it to you straight up: 11 fun facts about the marathon. We hope they help motivate you through your next race, or inspire you to sign up for your first!
1. Run the world
In 2016, over 545,000 runners completed one of 816 marathons in US and Canada. Add up all that race mileage and it's almost enough to circle the globe!
Bonus fact: Nuun athlete Maor Tiyouri qualified for the Olympics during her first marathon ever!
2. The first marathon
The marathon is a celebration of the legendary Greek soldier Pheidippides. He is said to have run over 25 miles from the battle of marathon to Athens to deliver news of a Greek victory, only to promptly collapse and die.
3. But isn't a marathon 26.2 miles?
The 1908 London Olympics was the first time an Olympic marathon was 26.2 miles. The Queen requested a route extension so that her kids could watch the race. It wasn't until 1924 that 26.2 miles became the standard.
4. Age doesn't matter
At 100 years old, Fauja Singh became the oldest person to run a marathon in 2011, when he completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8:25:16! And incredibly, at age 3, Budhia Singh became the youngest to complete a marathon.
5. Run all the marathons!
Dean Karnazes is most well-known for running 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states.
6. Human vs. Horse
There's a marathon in Wales in which human runners race against horses. Humans have won twice since 2004, both notably on unusually hot days. Maybe it's because we're the best sweaters!
7. Bon appétit!
There is a marathon in France that kicks off the race with a sip of wine. The race also has 22 refreshment stands and 21 gourmet foods stalls throughout the course, and a red carpet at the finish line!
8. Largest marathon in the world
With 45,000 runners crossing the start line in 2010, the New York Marathon is the largest in the world. But it had humble beginnings. The New York Marathon started in 1970, with 127 people each paying $1 to run several loops around Central Park. Nothing against Central Park, but we like the 5 boroughs route better!
9. The Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897, making it the oldest annual marathon. And thanks to its strict time requirements, it's the fastest marathon in the us with a median finish time of 3:44.
10. World records
By now, you probably know that the current record for the fastest marathon is 2:03:38 (Patrick Musyoki, 2011 Berlin Marathon) and 2:15:23 (Paula Radcliffe, 2003 London Marathon). But did you know the record for fastest marathon while running backwards is a mind-boggling 3:43:39?
11. First marathon in space!
During the 2007 Boston Marathon, astronaut Sunita Williams ran 26.2 miles while onboard the International Space Station in 4 hours and 24 minutes.