25 Things You Didn’t Know About Marathons

Posted by , Updated on May 1, 2016

There are few things that have been around longer than competition between people. And what sort of competition could possibly have outdated people racing each other. Whether it involved stealing food from the neighboring tribe or more friendly encounters, the earliest competitions all involved nothing more than our two legs! Marathons are something you have probably always thought of as something that you will never be able to do. Although that is not true, we are not here to give you a motivational speech! The word marathon actually comes from Greek. The plains of Marathon were where the Greeks defeated the Persians. The Greek runner Phidippides ran 26 miles from the plains of Marathon all the way to Athens in order to the deliver the message that the Persians had been defeated. Shortly after delivering the message, he collapsed and died. Ever since then the exact length and duration of marathons has been up for debate but by and large marathons have been fixed at somewhere around 26 miles (a little over 40 kilometers). Today we are going to go over some interesting history and meet some pretty crazy and motivated runners! These are 25 things you didn’t know about marathons!

Featured Image: Josiah Mackenzie via Flickr

25

Marathons were instituted in commemoration of Greek runner Phidippides. He ran 26 miles from the battlefield on the plains of Marathon to deliver a message to Athens. He collapsed shortly after and died.

Marathons were instituted in commemoration of Greek runner Phidippides. He ran 26 miles from the battlefield on the plains of Marathon to deliver a message to Athens. He collapsed shortly after and died.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
24

Sunita Williams, an astronaut, ran an entire marathon on the International Space Station simultaneously with her sister who was running in the Boston Marathon

Sunita Williams, an astronaut, ran an entire marathon on the International Space Station simultaneously with her sister who was running in the Boston MarathonSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
23

Sister Madonna Buder has come to be known as the Iron Nun as she has run over 325 triathlons and became the oldest person to ever complete the Ironman at 82 years old

Sister Madonna Buder has come to be known as the Iron Nun as she has run over 325 triathlons and became the oldest person to ever complete the Ironman at 82 years oldSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
22

Paula Radcliffe won the 2005 London Marathon even though she had to stop on the side of the road due to "runner's diarrhea"

Paula Radcliffe won the 2005 London Marathon even though she had to stop on the side of the road due to "runner's diarrhea"Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
21

Fauja Singh, a 100 year old British Indian citizen, became the oldest person to ever complete a marathon in 2011

Fauja Singh, a 100 year old British Indian citizen, became the oldest person to ever complete a marathon in 2011Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia

20

In some marathons there is a sweeper bus that comes along after a certain amount of time to pick up those who are still on the track

In some marathons there is a sweeper bus that comes along after a certain amount of time to pick up those who are still on the trackSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
19

1 in 50,000 people will die of a heart attack within 24 hours of completing a marathon

1 in 50,000 people will die of a heart attack within 24 hours of completing a marathonSource: pponline.co.uk, Image: wikipedia
18

Cliff Young was a 61 year old who won Australia's 544 mile Sydney-Melbourne endurance race because he ran straight through the night while the other athletes slept

Cliff Young was a 61 year old who won Australia's 544 mile Sydney-Melbourne endurance race because he ran straight through the night while the other athletes sleptSource: elitefeet.com, Image: wikipedia
17

British explorer and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 different continents in spite of having had a heart attack just several months before

British explorer and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 different continents in spite of having had a heart attack just several months beforeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
16

Record holder Stefaan Engels ran 365 marathons in 365 days. When he was younger he was told to avoid sports because he had asthma

Record holder Stefaan Engels ran 365 marathons in 365 days. When he was younger he was told to avoid sports because he had asthmaSource: time.com, Image: wikipedia
15

The heaviest person to ever complete a marathon was American Charles Bungert. He weighed 427 pounds (almost 200 kg).

The heaviest person to ever complete a marathon was American Charles Bungert. He weighed 427 pounds (almost 200 kg).Source: guinnessworldrecords.com
14

Every year in Wales the Man vs Horse marathon is held where competitors do exactly as it sounds...they race against horses. In the past 10 years humans have won only twice

Every year in Wales the Man vs Horse marathon is held where competitors do exactly as it sounds...they race against horses. In the past 10 years humans have won only twiceSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
13

Edward Pena, one of the miners trapped in Chile in 2010 trained everyday while he was underground for nearly 10 weeks. He finished a marathon shortly after being freed

Edward Pena, one of the miners trapped in Chile in 2010 trained everyday while he was underground for nearly 10 weeks. He finished a marathon shortly after being freedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
12

During the first Ironman, Navy Seal John Dunbar led for most of the race but when his crew ran out of water, they began giving him beer. Not surprisingly, John started bumping into cars and stumbling but he still managed to finish

During the first Ironman, Navy Seal John Dunbar led for most of the race but when his crew ran out of water, they began giving him beer. Not surprisingly, John started bumping into cars and stumbling but he still managed to finishSource: ironman.com, Image: wikipedia
11

Terry Fox, a 21 year old Canadian who had lost his leg to cancer ran all the way across Canada in order to raise cancer awareness. He died shortly afterwards when the cancer spread to his lungs

Terry Fox, a 21 year old Canadian who had lost his leg to cancer ran all the way across Canada in order to raise cancer awareness. He died shortly afterwards when the cancer spread to his lungsSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
10

The modern length of a marathon (26.2 miles) was established at the 1908 London Games. Before that, marathons varied in their distance even though they were based on the run of Phidippides

The modern length of a marathon (26.2 miles) was established at the 1908 London Games. Before that, marathons varied in their distance even though they were based on the run of PhidippidesSource: nytimes, Image: wikipedia
9

In 1977, Wesley Paul ran the NYC Marathon in just over 3 hours. He was 8 years old.

In 1977, Wesley Paul ran the NYC Marathon in just over 3 hours. He was 8 years old.Source: nytimes, Image: wikipedia
8

In 2003, Will Ferrel completed the Boston Marathon and accomplished both goals he had set for himself - finish in less than 4 hours, and beat the man dressed up as Elvis

In 2003, Will Ferrel complete the Boston Marathon and accomplished both goals he had set for himself - finish in less than 4 hours, and beat the man dressed up as ElvisSource: usatoday.com, Image: wikipedia
7

Dick Hoyt ran 247 triathlons while pushing, pulling, or carrying his disabled son

Dick Hoyt ran 247 triathlons while pushing, pulling, or carrying his disabled sonSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
6

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. Officials, who hadn't initially realized that she was a woman, tried to remove her from the race

Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. Officials, who hadn't initially realized that she was a woman, tried to remove her from the raceSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
5

As you may have guessed by now, humans and horses are among the best long distance runners on the planet

As you may have guessed by now, humans and horses are among the best long distance runners on the planetSource: slate.com, Image: wikipedia
4

During the 1996 Boston Marathon Uta Pippig became the first woman to cross the finish line. Her run drew attention, however, because she had begun menstruating during the race

During the 1996 Boston Marathon Uta Pippig became the first woman to cross the finish line. Her run drew attention, however, because she had begun menstruating during the raceSource: wikipdia, Image: wikipedia
3

The Barkley Marathon is considered by some to be the most extreme race in the world. It is 100 meters through the woods of Tennessee and was inspired by a prison escape

The Barkley Marathon is considered by some to be the most extreme race in the world. It is 100 through the woods of Tennessee and was inspired by a prison escapeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
2

The men's marathon during the 1904 St Louis Olympics was very disorganized. First place rode most of the way in a car. Second place was carried across the finish line after having been injected with rat poison (a stimulant). And third place took a nap in the middle of the race

The men's marathon during the 1904 St Louis Olympics was very disorganized. First place rode most of the way in a car. Second place was carried across the finish line after having been injected with rat poison (a stimulant). And third place took a nap in the middle of the raceSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
1

In 2007, three endurance athletes (American Charlie Engle, Canadian Ray Zahab, and Kevin Lin of Taiwan) ran across the Sahara Desert

In 2007, three endurance athletes (American Charlie Engle, Canadian Ray Zahab, and Kevin Lin of Taiwan) ran across the Sahara DesertSource: espn.go.com, Image: wikipedia

SEE ALSO: 25 Mind Blowing Psychology Experiments...You Won't Believe What's Inside Your Head »

NOW WATCH: 25 True Things You May Not Know About Voodoo

Subscribe to List25
Show Us Your Love
Join Over 2 Million+ List25 Fans