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Friday, 15 February 2013

Seven Fun Facts about Marathons

1) Great Britain’s Paula Radcliff continues to hold the world record as fastest female marathon runner. She completed the London Marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds in 2003. She has won the London Marathon three times, the New York Marathon twice and the Chicago Marathon once. 2) The New York Marathon, now considered to be the busiest marathon in the world, originated in 1970 with as few as 127 runners who paid an entry fee of $1. It involved running several loops through Central Park and just 55 of the participants completed the race. 3) Both the world’s oldest and youngest marathon runners ever are of Indian origin. The youngest, named Budhia Singh, is an Indian slum child who had run over 48 marathons by the age of 5. The oldest is Fauja Singh who became both the oldest person to ever complete a marathon and the only centenarian marathon runner when he crossed the finishing line of the Toronto Marathon at 100 years of age. 4) Marathons originated in Greece. Legend has it that after the Greek victory over the Persians in 490 B.C. a soldier named Pheidippides ran 25 miles from the battlefield in Marathon all the way to Athens the tell the news. Once he arrived, he yelled “Rejoice, we are victorious” and then collapsed and died. Since then, a marathon took place every year in memory of Pheidippides. Marathons still take place in Greece and the Athens Marathon for example is a great opportunity to run abroad. 5) Most marathons around the world are 26.2 miles long. However, until the 1908 London Olympics, marathons were generally around 25 miles. The length was originally intended to be 26 miles, however Queen Alexandra requested this was changed to 26.2 miles so that the finish line was at the East Law of Windsor Castle and the royal children could watch the race from their nursery. 6) Some races are even longer, more challenging and more tiring than the marathon. The ‘Ultramarathon’ is often a few marathons in a row run in gruelling conditions. Definitely not a beginner’s marathon, the Badwater Ultramarathon is a 135-mile route from Death Valley in California to Mount Whitney and covers three mountain ranges. Run in the sun, the Marathon of Sands takes place over six days in Saharan Africa and covers a distance equivalent of six marathons. Runners are also required to carry their own belongings along the way! 7) There are some very exotic and unique international marathons around the world. For example, there is a marathon along the steps of the Great Wall of China, the North Pole Marathon as well as the Walt Disney World Marathon in which participants run through various Disney parks. run by the sea, Limassol is the host venue for one of the most picturesque international half marathons in Europe. It is popular amongst experts seeking fast marathon courses or novices simply wanting to run abroad.

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