why do we have marathon races in the olympics

The modern marathon event was created and later refined through the Olympic competition. The idea of holding a marathon race at the first Olympics was suggested to
by. Based upon a popular stemming from the, in which ran to from the town of to carry the message of a Greek victory, the 1896 course began in the town of Marathon and finished in Athens' a distance of around 40 kilometres (25Pmi). On April 10, 1896, Greek water-carrier won the first Olympic marathon in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds. The route between Marathon and Panathenaic Stadium was repeated when Athens hosted the 2004 Games. The race distance varied from 40 to 42 kilometres (25 to 26Pmi) in the early editions as it was typically based upon the distance between two points that the organisers felt were suitable. The marked the introduction of the now standard distance of 26 miles, 385 yards (42. 195Pkm). However, it was not until the that this distance became the standard at the Olympics. The Olympic marathon proved immediately popular in the Western world and quickly spawned numerous long-running annual races, including the in 1897, the in 1902, the in 1907, and the London in 1909.

Such marathons played a key role in the expansion of the road running movement internationally over the course of the 20th century. It has become a tradition for the men's Olympic marathon to be the last event of the athletics calendar, on the final day of the Olympics. For many years the race finished inside the Olympic stadium; however, at the 2012 London games, the start and finish were on The Mall, and at the 2016 Rio games, the start and finish were in the Sambdromo, the parade area that serves as a spectator mall for Carnival. Often, the men's marathon medals are awarded at the closing ceremony; this occurred in, and, among other times. The for the event are 2:06:32 hours for men, set by in 2008, and 2:23:07 hours for women, set by in 2012. The men's has been improved several times at the Olympics: in 1908, 1920, and then at successive Olympics by in 1960 and 1964. Abebe Bikila and are the only athletes to have won two Olympic gold medals in the marathon. No athlete has won more than two medals of any colour. has won the most gold medals in the event, with six, while the has the greatest medal total with twelve overall. [ Marathon, long-distance footrace first held at the revival of the in in 1896.

It the legendary feat of a Greek soldier who, in 490, is supposed to have run from Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 km (25 miles), to bring news of the Athenian victory over the Persians and then expired. The story of this messenger from the was later with the story of another Greek soldier, Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to in advance of the fighting. Appropriately, in 1896 the first modern marathon winner was a Greek,. In 1924 the Olympic marathon distance was standardized at 42,195 metres (26 miles 385 yards). This was based on a decision of the British Olympic Committee to start the 1908 Olympic race from and finish it in front of the royal box in the stadium at London. The marathon was added to the womenвs Olympic program in 1984. After the Olympic Games championship, one of the most coveted honours in marathon, held annually since 1897. It draws athletes from all parts of the world and in 1972 became the first major marathon to officially allow women to compete.

Other premiere marathons are held in London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. Marathons are not held on the track but on roads, and, despite the fact that courses are not of equal difficulty, the (IAAF) does list world records for the marathon and also for the half-marathon. World-record times in the marathon steadily declined over the course of the 20th century from slightly under three hours to slightly more than two hours. It was long considered necessary for a runner to prepare for a marathon by training over that distance. At the 1952 Olympic Games, however, Czech set an Olympic record of 2 hours 23 minutes 3. 2 seconds, even though he had never run the distance before. In the decades following, other first-time marathoners also won premiere events and set records at the distance. By the late 20th century, road racing, and marathon running in particular, had grown to become a recreational activity with broad appeal. Ultramarathons, which are neither Olympic nor IAAF events, are longer races based on a specific distance or an allotted time period for competition, such as a 12-hour race.

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