The marathon (short Marathon ) is discharged on roads or paths athletic running event 42.195 kilometers, while the longest Olympic Track Event in athletics . Some races, particularly in athletics highlights years, lead to the finish in the stadium, where is still about a lap to run.

At Olympic Games , the marathon route is since 1896 run by the men (though initially to 25 miles hence about 40 kilometers in length) and of women since 1984.


Origin of modern marathon

The historian Herodotus reported the Greek messenger Pheidippides , the v. Chr 490th of Athens in two days after Sparta had gone to help in the war against the Persians to look (compare Spartathlon ). It formed 500 years after Plutarch and Lucian citing Heraclides Ponticus a legend , according to which a runner after the victory of the Athenians in the Battle of Marathon have made ​​the almost 40 kilometer route to Athens, where after the promulgation of its Embassy νενικήκαμεν (transcribed: nenikekamen) "We have won" had collapsed dead.

In the first long-distance races of modern times no one thought of this history. As pleasure for spectators and to satisfy their passion for betting the first long-distance runs were in some kind of sport in the late 18th century contest discharged. In England and the United States who completed Pedestrianisten (Fußläufer) routes between 20 Miles (32.18 km) and 30 miles (48.27 kilometers). The distances were run mostly against the clock, often the runners competed against each other. The relay went from milestone to milestone, what a reliable timekeeping guaranteed. Considerable time has been made ​​there. In 1808 a man was named Blewet 24 miles (38.62 kilometers) a time of 2:34 hours. In todays valid marathon converted this would be a time of 2:48 hours.

Only with the excavations at an historic location in Marathon, where in 1890 a hill with the graves of the fallen Athenians was exposed from the Battle of Marathon, the legend of Pheidippides came back to mind.The linguist Michel Bréal had the idea of the legendary run of Pheidippides in the planned for 1896 Athens Olympics to revive as a competition. With a letter he told his friend, Baron Pierre de Coubertin , founder of the International Olympic Committee by (IOC), his idea. The winner was to receive a donated by him Cup. So was Olympic Marathon 1896 Athens the first organized marathon.

However, a month before the Olympics was already a marathon than Greece Championship on the route from the village of Marathon to Athens (about 40 km) with eleven runners instead. Two weeks later, another marathon was held as a test for the Olympic Games with 38 runners, in which the winner Ioannis Lavrentis reached a time of 3:11:27 hours and the subsequent Olympic marathon champion, Spyridon Louis , in 3:18:27 was h in fifth. For other dates up to two women, whose names were given as Melpomene and Stamathis Rovithi, have successfully tried at the track Marathon Athens. [1]

Major Papadiamanopoulos was entrusted Preparatory Committee thus to align the long-distance running. Papadiamanopoulos' former runner Spyridon Louis was that eventually the first Olympic marathon in 1896 won in a time of 2:58:50 hours. Only since 1984, the marathon for women an Olympic event.

The first official German Marathon was run on 3 July 1898th The route ran from Paunsdorf in Leipzig (district of Leipzig) after Bennewitz and after Paunsdorf back. Winner was Arthur Techtow who needed a time of 3:15:50 hours for the 40 km and for 20 minutes to less than the runner-up needed.

Development of walking distance

Olympic games
year route length
kilometer miles
1896 40 24,85
1900 40.26 25,02
1904 40 24,85
1906 41,86 26,01
1908 42,195 26.22
1912 40.2 24,98
1920 42,75 26,56
since 1924 42,195 26.22

In the official bulletin of the Olympic Games 1896, the running distance from Marathon to Athens was advertised with exactly 40 kilometers. Today's state of knowledge indicates that this does probably not the same as the distance traveled by the legendary messenger distance. While Pheidippides probably the shortest route through the Pentelikon had taken -Gebirge and thereby completed a maximum of 34 kilometers the runners the road took at the Olympic Games along the sea and to the mountains around.

For the next Olympic Games, it was the IOC is not important to establish the marathon at a certain distance, since the runners competed against each other in direct combat. Although the length of the first Olympic marathon in 1896 served as a guide, but it was left to the organizers to adjust the distance to the local conditions.

At the Summer Olympics in 1908 in London , the distance was according to a survey protocol exactly 26 Miles 385 yards , which converted 42.195 km corresponded. There are many explanations of how it came to this distance. The Survey Report provides information. The starting point of the survey was the Olympic stadium newly built in London's Shepherd's Bush . The launch should at Windsor Castle occur. After allowing 25 miles (40.23 km), the hitherto usual distance of a marathon measured, it was still 1 mile from Windsor Castle. On the East Terrace of Windsor Castle had finally measured 26 miles. However, it still lacked the piece of ground measuring point up to the royal box, so had to again be added to 385 yards of distance. For this reason are still in the final kilometer an Anglo-Saxon marathoners God Save the Queenemit.

The dramatic output in the Olympic Marathon in 1908 between Dorando Pietri and John Hayes in which Pietri was eventually pushed after repeated falls short of the target by officials across the finish line and therefore disqualified, you used after the Games to the United States a number of organize revenge fighting between the two. Of course, the conditions should be the same, so you always defined the distance to a length of 42.195 km away. Besides Pietri, who participated in 8 marathons in 1909, after more and more runners who soon moved like a traveling circus around the country and eventually around the world participated in the competitions. Most of the runs were in a hall such as the Madison Square Garden , fought, where they had to complete 262 laps.

Despite the now almost obligatory distance of 42.195 kilometers at the many professional competitions saw the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is not necessary at that distance for the marathon at the1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm and also at the Summer Olympics in 1920 in Antwerp set on a particular track. Only in 1921 did the International Association of Athletics ( IAAF determined the distance of 42.195 kilometer than official distance as a marathon).

Most successful athletes



Medalist at international highlights:



Marathon as a top sport

Participants Medal of New York Marathon 1997

Some organizers of the world's largest and most prestigious marathons Write annually for elite runners, the World Marathon Majors series from. Such a series is over a period of two years and therefore overlap with the Serie of the previous year and the subsequent series. In scoring the runs in flow Tokyo , Boston , London , Berlin , Chicago and New York , as well as optionally the marathon at the World Athletics Championships and / or the marathon at the Olympic Games a. [2] In this condition, the five best men and Women for a simple system of points. The prize money of one million US dollars will be distributed evenly after the last round of the series on the athlete and the athlete with the most points. [3]

Other major events in a year Honolulu , Los Angeles , Paris , Seoul , Beijing , Vienna and Hamburg instead.

Marathon as a popular sport

Beginning in the 1970s (with measures such "keep-fit" and "Running without puffing" of the DSB ) and then in the course of general fitness trends, the running and parallel running marathons has established itself as a popular sport.

1979 the number of German marathon runner was estimated at 10,000 and there were around 50 marathons in Germany. 2005 offered in Germany 153 marathons and the hard core of the marathon runner is estimated by the German Athletics Federation to around 100,000 Active. That's still less than one percent of all runners. [4]

2004 found in Europe 73 marathons with more than 1,000 participants per run times, including 20 in Germany. In previous years, there were 65 (in 2003) and 60 (in 2002), each with 18 runs in Germany.

Runs the world with more than 30,000 finishers

The following runs were in their story before more than 30,000 finishers: [5]

run Finisher record Finisher (latest edition)
year finisher year finisher
New York City Marathon 2014 50564 [6] 2014 50,564
Paris Marathon 2015 40,172 2015 40172 [7]
Chicago Marathon 2013 38 873 [8] 2013 38 873 [8]
London Marathon 2012 36,672 2013 34336 [9]
Berlin Marathon 2013 36.568 2013 36.568 [10]
Boston Marathon 1996 35,868 2014 31 805 [11]
Tokyo Marathon 2013 34,819 2014 34,126

Coordination of training and competition


As with all other running distances, the training has changed over the decades. While Pedestrians in the 19th century, if necessary, also 200 km a day running, the training after the First World War, shorter and faster. With Woldemar Gerschler and Herbert Rein Dell , pulled the interval workout ( Emil Zatopek ran 50 × 400 m with 200 m trotting pause) before Arthur Lydiard and Ernst van Aaken began with a modern training today embossing. [12] Many coaches now believe, that the most important element in marathon training interval training is in addition to the slow running long distances to form the stamina hardness.Recreational runners try, for example during exercise maximum single distance of 30 kilometers and a weekly workload of 60 km reach. Here is the relatively slow runners often advised to quit for orthopedic reasons the long duration running after about three hours and extend the length of the route only with increasing efficiency. Advanced marathoners run longer distances and more kilometers per week. At top level is 200 km or more are not uncommon. In addition to the long slow runs many training plans successful coach also plays the interval training a crucial role, but with a very small proportion of the total mileage of the training (5% to 10%).

A training plan designed for a period of five or six months, the planned route lengths increase gradually every two weeks. The often propagated 10- to 12-week plans are only the rehabilitation training for already done training work. A runner should be better run for two years on a regular basis at least one year before attempting a marathon. Competition experience sub-distances which are generally between 5000 m and 25 km, more rarely, 30 km, are desirable and recommended. During marathon training, it is important to give the body enough time to recover. Running during a cold or fever can cause serious illness (eg. Asmyocarditis pull) according to. [13]

Race preparations

During the last two or three weeks before a marathon runners typically reduce their weekly workload (typically up to 50 to 75% of the maximum range) and pause in the leisure sector sometimes at least two days completely, so that the body from the harsh impact of the marathon can recover again. This training phase is also with the English word " Tapering designated" ( "Break"). [14] Many marathon runners also take a week before the marathon increased carbohydrates to be (so-called " carbo-loading "), so that the body more glycogen can absorb. We also use the services offered by many operators pasta parties the day before the marathon, in which the participants mainly carbohydrate-rich meals.

Directly prior to the race, many runners do without it, to take solid food in order to avoid digestive problems. Furthermore, care is taken, enough to drink, and the toilet is again sought. help Gentle stretching exercises before the race to make the muscles loose. To avoid hypothermia before the start of large starting fields and especially in the cold season, many marathon runners cut trash bags as clothing, which they discard about to start.

During the race

Water output at Marathon

Recommend coach to keep an even pace during digging of a marathon. There are also recommendations to divide the route in stages. It starts with an initial phase in which a speed is maintained which is below the desired average speed. Then follows a middle part in which the target average speed is maintained. In the end part of the speed is increased again. This also corresponds to the universal recommendation, tackle a marathon slowly. Paul Tergat succeeded in his world record in 2003 in the framework of the Berlin Marathon even, the second half more than minute to complete faster than the first.

Isotonic drinks are often offered along the route. Too much pure water can lead to salt loss and in heavy sweating health-threatening ( hyperhydration ). Therefore, water is at the supply points normally offered, which is mixed in isotonic concentration with saline. [15] In the not too high ambient temperatures, it is possible to complete a run without drinking breaks. Carbohydrate gels are a good source of energy, but they should be diluted when consumed with water, as it can cause nausea and vomiting otherwise. The amount and type of drinks and carbohydrates , which can be added during the run from the body, is highly dependent on the running speed. The faster the run is completed, the less blood flows through the digestive tract. The body can then hardly absorb carbohydrates or water. These are used to load and easily lead to nausea and vomiting.

Typically, there is a maximum allowed time of five hours and thirty minutes (in Germany) to six hours and thirty minutes (in some other countries), after which the route mostly by the broom wagon is closed; some of the major events - particularly in the US - the route remains open much longer. If a time goal you put it, it is easier to keep a steady pace. Here, it is favorable for beginning runners, a tempo map (and am) take to the track.

Health aspects

Muscle pain after the run are normal. This pain, which is often wrongly called " soreness is felt", go along with such a can (skiing involves short, eccentric muscle contractions ), can last up to a week. But a complete recovery from the marathon requires a much longer time. Coaches expect depending on race course, external conditions and fitness level with at least two weeks to two months to complete physical asmental regeneration that are important for the reconstruction of a new race. For these reasons, successful athletes more than two marathons rarely run in.

As with almost all sports that are operated as a mass sport, outweigh the health benefits of marathon training against possible risks during the competition by far. However, a problem is the continuously increasing average age of the runners at large events such as the New York City Marathon is. [16] Despite impressive performances occur in older marathoners problems of the musculoskeletal system both in the training phase and in competition heaped on, [17 ] on the other rises in this age group but also the overall risk of heart disease. The risk of a during a marathon sudden death of suffering, is negligible and is between 0.5: 100,000 [18] and 0.8:. 100,000 participants [19] Nevertheless, recommends the German Sports Medical Association Sport beginners and returners, especially in presence of underlying medical conditions, symptoms or risk factors to a health examination to be. [20] Other acute health problems that may occur during the run, electrolyte disturbances (especially hyponatremia ) [21] and the heat stroke . The increasedrisk of skin cancer of marathon runners [22] is a reminder to consistent sunscreen. Troublesome symptoms are caused by friction to a garment sore nipples ( Jogger's nipple ), athlete's foot and blistering . [23]

In marathon and long distance runners often leads to an increase of endogenous substances in the blood, usually with a structural damage of the heart (eg. B. cardiac troponin ) [24] or the brain ( S-100beta ) [25]in the context to be brought. These increases reflect in many cases not a real damage to the heart or brain resists, but it is mainly a release from skeletal muscle before. [26] [27] In fact, no relationship between increased damage markers and heart function resulted in healthy marathon runners. [28 ] A study showed echocardiographic changes in heart function with untrained marathon runners; [29] . the results of this study are controversial [30] Furthermore, bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract are described in medical circles. As a cause for this bleeding vibrations during running to be considered, as well as the administration of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prior to and during the run to prevent musculoskeletal pain. These NSAIDs ( ibuprofen , aspirin , ...) affect coagulation by platelet function is affected. This risk seems many runners to be unaware. In medical literature surveys are cited, suggestive of rising revenue trend.

Wheelchairs, hand cycles and inline skates

In many city marathons and the Paralympic Games competitions for in addition to the normal running discipline since the 1970s, racing wheelchairs and since the 2000s also Handbike driver offered. [31] While these disciplines paraplegic athletes for participation in the marathon competition, is as more discipline in some events, a race for inline skaters offered.