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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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