When people think of a marathon, they tend to think recent sports. It has only been in recent years that more and more people have taken up running as a sport. In the past, you only ran if you were in danger! However, the sport of running has been a long standing tradition in the Olympics. In fact, the marathon is the only road running event you will find here at the Summer Olympics.
The Olympic committee added the men’s marathon into the event in 1896 and it has been a part of the multi-sporting event since. It was not until 1984, almost 90 years later that women would get their own marathon.
The marathon in the Olympics started off between 25 to 26 miles. It would not be until 1908 in London that the distance would become the standard 26-mile marathon. This distance was officially recognized in 1924 at the Paris Olympics.
The marathon became so popular during the Olympics it would go on to create many of the marathons that are still popular today. In fact, it would be these early marathons that spawned such an interest and popularity in running.
Over the years, the men’s marathon became known as the last event of the summer Olympics. Typically the marathon would always be run inside the stadium. However, during the 2012 games in London, the marathon was raced on The Mall. And again in 2016 at the Rio Games, the marathon was held at Sambódromo.
The marathon at the Olympic games continues to grow in popularity and spawn more runners than ever before. With every game we see athletes performing at incredible speeds that defy human logic. It is impossible to know how is going to be the next record breaker.
For a quick history of the marathon, feel free to watch this video: