Friday, April 10, 2009

1896 olympic marathon held 113 years ago today!

just think, 113 years ago today, on april 10, 1896, the first olympic marathon was held in athens, greece. it wasn't the first "marathon," since a qualifying race was held to select participants, and it wasn't the full marathon distance (42.2k) we run today - since it was "just" 40 kilometers - but it set in motion the world of marathon running that we enjoy today! one year later, in 1897, the boston athletic association organized and held the first boston marathon - and the rest, shall we say, is history. in less than two weeks (april 20) it will be run for the 113th time!

with 25 participants, only 17 actually started the race - and 9 officially completed the race. the winner, spyridon louis, crossed the finish line in 2:58:50 - and instantly became a national hero in greece, the host country!

110 years later, the winner of the olympic marathon, keyan samuel wansiru crossed the finish line in 2:06:32 - a new olympic record. in 1896, women weren't allowed to participate in the marathon - they'd have to wait until the 1984 olympics. but last summer, the women's olympic marathon was won by romanian constantina diţă-tomescu in 2:26:44.

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