Marathon


Marathon
/mar"euh thon'/, n.
1. a plain in SE Greece, in Attica: the Athenians defeated the Persians here 490 B.C.
2. an ancient village that is near this plain.
3. Class. Myth. a son of Epopeus and the father of Corinthus.

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Long-distance footrace run on an open course of 26 miles 385 yards (42.2 km).

First held at the revived Olympic Games in 1896, it commemorates the legendary feat of a Greek soldier who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC, a distance of about 25 mi (40 km), to report the Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon, after which he dropped dead. Marathons today are usually open events for both men and women, often run by thousands of participants, including the venerable Boston Marathon (established 1897). The women's marathon became an Olympic event in 1984.

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race
      long-distance footrace first held at the revival of the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. It commemorates the legendary feat of a Greek soldier who, in 490 BC, 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 Battle of Marathon (Marathon, Battle of) was later conflated with the story of another Greek soldier, Pheidippides, who ran from Athens to Sparta in advance of the fighting. Appropriately, in 1896 the first modern marathon winner was a Greek, Spyridon Louis (Louis, Spyridon).

      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 Windsor Castle and finish it in front of the royal box in the stadium at London. The marathon was added to the women's Olympic program in 1984.

      After the Olympic Games championship, one of the most coveted honours in marathon running is victory in the Boston 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, Chicago, Berlin, New York City, 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 International Association of Athletics Federations (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 Emil Zátopek (Zátopek, Emil) 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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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • marathon — [ maratɔ̃ ] n. m. • 1896; de Marathon, ville grecque d où courut, jusqu à Athènes, le soldat portant la nouvelle de la victoire 1 ♦ Course à pied de grand fond (42 km 195) sur route. Le vainqueur du marathon aux Jeux olympiques. 2 ♦ Fig. Épreuve… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Marathon ∞ — Marathon Infinity Marathon infinity Éditeur Bungie Software Développeur Bungie Software Concepteur   Date de sortie 1996 Genre jeu de tir subjectif Mode de jeu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marathon 2 — Marathon 2: Durandal Marathon 2: Durandal Éditeur Bungie Software Développeur Bungie Software Concepteur   Date de sortie 1995 Genre jeu de tir subjectif Mode …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marathon — Marathon, NY U.S. village in New York Population (2000): 1063 Housing Units (2000): 439 Land area (2000): 1.129180 sq. miles (2.924563 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.129180 sq. miles (2.924563 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • marathon — n. 1. A footrace of 26 miles 385 yards. [WordNet sense 2] [WordNet 1.5] 2. Hence: Any long and arduous undertaking, straining the endurance of the participants. [WordNet sense 1] Syn: endurance contest. [WordNet 1.5] 3. (Capitalized)a battle in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Marathon, FL — U.S. city in Florida Population (2000): 10255 Housing Units (2000): 6791 Land area (2000): 8.646210 sq. miles (22.393581 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.997177 sq. miles (2.582676 sq. km) Total area (2000): 9.643387 sq. miles (24.976257 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marathon, IA — U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 302 Housing Units (2000): 162 Land area (2000): 0.731810 sq. miles (1.895378 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.731810 sq. miles (1.895378 sq. km) FIPS code:… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marathon, NY — U.S. village in New York Population (2000): 1063 Housing Units (2000): 439 Land area (2000): 1.129180 sq. miles (2.924563 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.129180 sq. miles (2.924563 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marathon, TX — U.S. Census Designated Place in Texas Population (2000): 455 Housing Units (2000): 287 Land area (2000): 5.254798 sq. miles (13.609865 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 5.254798 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • marathon — (n.) 1896, marathon race, from story of Gk. hero Pheidippides, who in 490 B.C.E. ran the 26 miles and 385 yards to Athens from the Plains of Marathon to tell of the allied Greek victory there over Persian army. The original story (Herodotus) is… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Marathon — MARĂTHON, ónis, Gr. Μαραθὼν, ῶνος, des Epopeus Sohn, gieng den Unbilligkeiten seines Vaters aus dem Wege und machte sich mit einer Colonie seiner Leute nach Attica. Da er aber hörete, daß sein Vater gestorben war, so kehrete er wieder in den… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon


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