A Marathon is 26.2 miles…Always!

Good Morning! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, I most certainly did!  I got to spend some time relaxing and cooking with Michael.  We made some delicious food which I’ll feature on Wednesday for the What I Ate Wednesday party!  I tackled some of my to-do list so it is actually manageable going into this week.  And yesterday morning Michael and I attended a Hot Power Yoga class at South Boston Yoga.  It was taught by David Vendetti and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I am really becoming obsessed with him and this studio.  The classes and flows are incredible.  The poses are challenging and I always leave feeling tired and content and not to mention a sweaty, sweaty mess.  The chanting and live music take this to a whole new level.  Something about his classes allow me to get lost in the movement of my own body.  And David’s funny comments that leave the whole class laughing keep it light-hearted.  It’s an incredible way to spend a Sunday morning.  I also got to attend my first Team in Training event on Saturday morning!  It was a short meeting but was great to meet the other members of my team.  For those who don’t know, I am running the Boston Marathon in April with Team in Training and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I’m really excited to be training for my 3rd marathon and raising money for a great cause.  For more information on why I am running and to make a donation please visit my fundraising page:


For today I just have a short post. For those marathoners and half-marathoners in the running community, how many times have you been asked how long a marathon or a half-marathon is?  How many times have you told a friend or a co-worker that you’ve signed up for the Chicago Marathon or that you just ran the Philadelphia half-marathon but are going to do the NYC half-marathon in the spring and they ask you how long the race is?  Whenever I talk about my passion for running or my experience running a marathon, or lately about how I’ll be running the Boston Marathon in April for Team in Training people will ask me how long it is.  I always politely explain that all marathons are 26.2 miles and that all half-marathons are 13.1 miles.  It doesn’t matter where it is, what time of year it is or anything.  A marathon is always 26.2 miles.  A half-marathon is always 13.1 miles.

Lately, I’ve been offering this piece of information to my unknowing friends and co-workers and strangers and included a very brief, shortened story of this one we have all heard before,

The marathon was never one of the ancient Olympic events, although its origin dates back to another episode in ancient Greek history.

In the 5th century B.C., the Persians invaded Greece, landing at Marathon, a small town about 26 miles from the city of Athens. The Athenian army was seriously outnumbered by the Persian army, so the Athenians sent messengers to cities all over Greece asking for help.

The traditional origin of the marathon comes from the story how a herald named Phidippides ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory and died on the spot. Phidippides was sent by the Athenians to Sparta to ask for help; a man named Eukles announced the victory to the Athenians and then died. Later sources confused the story of Phidippides, also called “Philippides,” with that of Eukles. Although most ancient authors do not support this legend, the story has persisted and is the basis for the modern-day marathon.

My intention is that by sharing the information about marathon and half-marathon distance with the origin people may remember it more.  I don’t know if this is actually true or not but I always remember the fun facts people tell me that include a story or something to make it memorable.  What is your way of telling the unknowing about marathon and half-marathon distance?

To me, and to Michael too (we were talking about this over the weekend) it is surprising that people aren’t more versed on marathon and half-marathon distances.  For most of these races, entries have doubled.  Marathoning and half-marathoning has grown incredibly over the past few years.  It would seem to me that people must know at least one person who runs a marathon or a half-marathon.  I do know that as runners and a community of runners, we will never forget how long a marathon is or a half-marathon.  I think most of us can say that we remember something, anything from all 26.2 miles of our first marathon or 13.1 miles from our first half-marathon.  And for every marathon we run there after, we can still be humbled by all 26.2 miles. And even for every half-marathon we run, we can still be beaten by those 13.1 miles. We will never forget the meaning in the miles.

How do you tell people how long a marathon or half-marathon is?  Do you find people ask you this question?


5 thoughts on “A Marathon is 26.2 miles…Always!

  1. niki b says:

    I love the story about the .2 miles! Was told for some Olympic event held in London (1908 sticks out but I could be waaaaaaayyyy off), they added the .2 miles because the royal family wanted to see the start from the palace. So the course directors moved the starting line .2 miles to make the royals happy.


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