Why is a marathon 26.2 miles?

Many runners know that a marathon is 26.2 miles, or to be more specific, 26 miles plus 385 yards. But how did that distance originate?

In a nod to Greek history, the first marathon running event at the inaugural Olympics in 1896 commemorated the story of Pheidippides, a soldier who reportedly ran from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C. According to legend, he ran approximately 25 miles to announce the defeat of the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. Upon arriving in Athens, he announced “Niki!” (Victory!) then fell over and died.

The first official marathon, in 1896, was 24.85 miles, and the course went from Marathon Bridge to Olympic Stadium in Athens. 25 entrants started and only 9 finished.

The next few Olympic marathons varied in distance; the idea was that as long as all runners ran the same course, it was unnecessary to keep the distance exactly the same.

At the 1908 Olympics in London, Dorando Pietri of Italy (pictured) was the first finisher, but was subsequently disqualified for receiving assistance along the route. Upon entering the stadium, he had first turned the wrong way, and then collapsed several times. The clerk of the course and chief medical examiner ran to his aid – and receiving that assistance led to his DQ. American Johnny Hayes, who had crossed 32 seconds after Petri, was then declared the marathon winner. Hayes’ time of 2:55:18.4 also set a new Olympic record.

In 1908, the Olympics were held in London. A 25 mile course initially was set to begin in Windsor and finish at the newly built Olympic Stadium in White City. However, course planners received a request from the Queen, who asked that the starting line be moved to Windsor Castle so that Princess Mary and her children could watch from a window. With the route change, a mile was added, and the course was now 26 miles. However, course amendments did not stop there. In order for the actual finish line to be directly in front of the royal family’s viewing box inside the stadium, an extra 385 yards had to be added to the end of the course to meet this requirement.

The next several Olympics saw a variety of distances for the marathon, but by the 1924 Olympiad in Paris, the 26 mile, 385 yard distance was adopted by the IAAF as the official marathon length, and it has not changed since.

And there you have it! The history behind the somewhat arbitrary distance of a marathon.

       

Upcoming Events

 
  1. Folsom Firecracker

    July 4 @ 7:30 am - 11:00 am
  2. Davis Moonlight Race

    July 9 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
  3. Paddlesplash Water Festival

    July 22 @ 8:00 am - July 24 @ 4:00 pm
  4. Tahoe Na-lu

    August 6 @ 8:00 am - August 7 @ 3:00 pm
  5. Davis Labor Day Run

    September 5 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

Coming Soon:

 

ACoP on Instagram

 
Everything’s coming together for next weekend’s Folsom Firecracker! Race day is Monday, July 4th.
Everything’s coming together for next weekend’s Folsom Firecracker! Race day is Monday, July 4th.
8 hours ago
View on Instagram |
1/6
It's a 4th of July tradition! Hope to see you there. 🇺🇸
⚪️What: #FolsomFirecrackerRun
🔵Distances: 2 Mile, 5K, 10K
🔴 When: Monday, July 4th
⚪️ Where: #LakeNatoma Bike Trails in #Folsom
🔵 Start Times: 7:45 am (10K), 8:00 am (5K), 8:10 am (2 Mile)
🔴 Beneficiary: #Shriners Children's of Northern California
⚪️ More info: changeofpace.com
🔵 Sign Up: runsignup.com/FolsomFirecracker 
🔴Note: Prices increase tomorrow! Sign up today - $35 adult entry includes t-shirt and finisher medal

#folsomfirecracker #folsomfirecrackerrace #infolsom #folsomca #july4th #runsacramento #fleetfeetfolsom #runfolsom #4thofjuly #lakenatomabiketrailn
It's a 4th of July tradition! Hope to see you there. 🇺🇸 ⚪️What: #FolsomFirecrackerRun 🔵Distances: 2 Mile, 5K, 10K 🔴 When: Monday, July 4th ⚪️ Where: #LakeNatoma Bike Trails in #Folsom 🔵 Start Times: 7:45 am (10K), 8:00 am (5K), 8:10 am (2 Mile) 🔴 Beneficiary: #Shriners Children's of Northern California ⚪️ More info: changeofpace.com 🔵 Sign Up: runsignup.com/FolsomFirecracker 🔴Note: Prices increase tomorrow! Sign up today - $35 adult entry includes t-shirt and finisher medal #folsomfirecracker #folsomfirecrackerrace #infolsom #folsomca #july4th #runsacramento #fleetfeetfolsom #runfolsom #4thofjuly #lakenatomabiketrailn
6 days ago
View on Instagram |
2/6
Introducing the 2022 Davis Moonlight Run finisher medal! This medal will be awarded to all 2K, 5K, 10K, and Ten Mile finishers. 

An email went out to registered participants this morning with tips for race night, including hydration, lighting, and acclimating to summer temps.  Plus, a reminder that entry fees (for those not yet registered), increase tonight at 11:59 pm. 

View a copy of the email on our website here changeofpace.com -> from the home page, navigate to the Moonlight Run (click logo or use menu) -> click the tab for 'Archive of Correspondence to Reg. Participants --> click link to open PDF. 

#davismoonlightrace #Davismoonlightrun #rundavis #moonlightrun #davisca #runsacramento #norcaltourdefit #moonlightrace
Introducing the 2022 Davis Moonlight Run finisher medal! This medal will be awarded to all 2K, 5K, 10K, and Ten Mile finishers. An email went out to registered participants this morning with tips for race night, including hydration, lighting, and acclimating to summer temps. Plus, a reminder that entry fees (for those not yet registered), increase tonight at 11:59 pm. View a copy of the email on our website here changeofpace.com -> from the home page, navigate to the Moonlight Run (click logo or use menu) -> click the tab for 'Archive of Correspondence to Reg. Participants --> click link to open PDF. #davismoonlightrace #Davismoonlightrun #rundavis #moonlightrun #davisca #runsacramento #norcaltourdefit #moonlightrace
2 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
3/6
Race night will be here soon - 26 days to be exact! Above is a throwback collage from the 2012 race. 

The next entry fee cut-off is this Wednesday, June 15. Sign up now to save some $$, and make plans to join us on July 9th! 

#davismoonlightrace #davismoonlightrun #moonlightrun
Race night will be here soon - 26 days to be exact! Above is a throwback collage from the 2012 race. The next entry fee cut-off is this Wednesday, June 15. Sign up now to save some $$, and make plans to join us on July 9th! #davismoonlightrace #davismoonlightrun #moonlightrun
2 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
4/6
👟The Labor Day Race is a longstanding Davis tradition, dating back to 1997! We are thrilled to report that we will be bringing this event back after a 2 year hiatus. 🎉

Registration is now open for the race! Register for the 5K or 10K for $35 ($30 for 16 and Under) by July 2nd. Race Day is Monday, Sept. 5th. 

#davislaborday #davislabordayrace #davislabordayrun #rundavis #runsacramento #labordayrun #laborday #labordayrace #fleetfeetdavis #gvh #goldenvalleyharriers #daviscenteralpark
👟The Labor Day Race is a longstanding Davis tradition, dating back to 1997! We are thrilled to report that we will be bringing this event back after a 2 year hiatus. 🎉 Registration is now open for the race! Register for the 5K or 10K for $35 ($30 for 16 and Under) by July 2nd. Race Day is Monday, Sept. 5th. #davislaborday #davislabordayrace #davislabordayrun #rundavis #runsacramento #labordayrun #laborday #labordayrace #fleetfeetdavis #gvh #goldenvalleyharriers #daviscenteralpark
3 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
5/6
Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kaiser Permanente Women's Fitness Festival in Sacramento. It’s always great to be around inspiring women and girls! I've always found it important both as a race director and a race participant to volunteer at other races every now and again to keep a broad perspective. It provides valuable insight and fresh ideas, and deepens my appreciation for the people who volunteer at our races. Thank you to @fleetfeetsac for having me. 

If you are looking to volunteer in the near future, we are seeking volunteers for the Folsom Firecracker (Monday, July 4th) race for both packet pick up (held at @ Fleet Feet Folsom on 7/3) and on race day; as well as for our Saturday, July 9th evening race, the Davis Moonlight Run. 

Besides giving back to the local running community, we offer a complimentary entry to a future ACoP event if you would like one. If you volunteer for packet pick up or event day registration, you can use your free entry for that same event. Those spots always fill up first, so be sure to sign up in advance!

For more information or to sign up to help, visit changeofpace.com - the volunteer sign up links are right on the home page.  I'm happy to answer any questions in comments or by DM! 

#volunteering #racevolunteer #folsomfirecracker #davismoonlightrun #davismoonlightrace thank you #fleetfeetsac  @fleetfeetfolsomroseville
Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kaiser Permanente Women's Fitness Festival in Sacramento. It’s always great to be around inspiring women and girls! I've always found it important both as a race director and a race participant to volunteer at other races every now and again to keep a broad perspective. It provides valuable insight and fresh ideas, and deepens my appreciation for the people who volunteer at our races. Thank you to @fleetfeetsac for having me. If you are looking to volunteer in the near future, we are seeking volunteers for the Folsom Firecracker (Monday, July 4th) race for both packet pick up (held at @ Fleet Feet Folsom on 7/3) and on race day; as well as for our Saturday, July 9th evening race, the Davis Moonlight Run. Besides giving back to the local running community, we offer a complimentary entry to a future ACoP event if you would like one. If you volunteer for packet pick up or event day registration, you can use your free entry for that same event. Those spots always fill up first, so be sure to sign up in advance! For more information or to sign up to help, visit changeofpace.com - the volunteer sign up links are right on the home page. I'm happy to answer any questions in comments or by DM! #volunteering #racevolunteer #folsomfirecracker #davismoonlightrun #davismoonlightrace thank you #fleetfeetsac @fleetfeetfolsomroseville
3 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
6/6

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Contact Info

 

Have a question not answered on our site?

  • Phone: 530-757-2012
  • Email Us
  • A Change of Pace Foundation
    PO Box 4458
    Davis, CA 95617

ACoP on Instagram

 
Everything’s coming together for next weekend’s Folsom Firecracker! Race day is Monday, July 4th.
Everything’s coming together for next weekend’s Folsom Firecracker! Race day is Monday, July 4th.
8 hours ago
View on Instagram |
1/6
It's a 4th of July tradition! Hope to see you there. 🇺🇸
⚪️What: #FolsomFirecrackerRun
🔵Distances: 2 Mile, 5K, 10K
🔴 When: Monday, July 4th
⚪️ Where: #LakeNatoma Bike Trails in #Folsom
🔵 Start Times: 7:45 am (10K), 8:00 am (5K), 8:10 am (2 Mile)
🔴 Beneficiary: #Shriners Children's of Northern California
⚪️ More info: changeofpace.com
🔵 Sign Up: runsignup.com/FolsomFirecracker 
🔴Note: Prices increase tomorrow! Sign up today - $35 adult entry includes t-shirt and finisher medal

#folsomfirecracker #folsomfirecrackerrace #infolsom #folsomca #july4th #runsacramento #fleetfeetfolsom #runfolsom #4thofjuly #lakenatomabiketrailn
It's a 4th of July tradition! Hope to see you there. 🇺🇸 ⚪️What: #FolsomFirecrackerRun 🔵Distances: 2 Mile, 5K, 10K 🔴 When: Monday, July 4th ⚪️ Where: #LakeNatoma Bike Trails in #Folsom 🔵 Start Times: 7:45 am (10K), 8:00 am (5K), 8:10 am (2 Mile) 🔴 Beneficiary: #Shriners Children's of Northern California ⚪️ More info: changeofpace.com 🔵 Sign Up: runsignup.com/FolsomFirecracker 🔴Note: Prices increase tomorrow! Sign up today - $35 adult entry includes t-shirt and finisher medal #folsomfirecracker #folsomfirecrackerrace #infolsom #folsomca #july4th #runsacramento #fleetfeetfolsom #runfolsom #4thofjuly #lakenatomabiketrailn
6 days ago
View on Instagram |
2/6
Introducing the 2022 Davis Moonlight Run finisher medal! This medal will be awarded to all 2K, 5K, 10K, and Ten Mile finishers. 

An email went out to registered participants this morning with tips for race night, including hydration, lighting, and acclimating to summer temps.  Plus, a reminder that entry fees (for those not yet registered), increase tonight at 11:59 pm. 

View a copy of the email on our website here changeofpace.com -> from the home page, navigate to the Moonlight Run (click logo or use menu) -> click the tab for 'Archive of Correspondence to Reg. Participants --> click link to open PDF. 

#davismoonlightrace #Davismoonlightrun #rundavis #moonlightrun #davisca #runsacramento #norcaltourdefit #moonlightrace
Introducing the 2022 Davis Moonlight Run finisher medal! This medal will be awarded to all 2K, 5K, 10K, and Ten Mile finishers. An email went out to registered participants this morning with tips for race night, including hydration, lighting, and acclimating to summer temps. Plus, a reminder that entry fees (for those not yet registered), increase tonight at 11:59 pm. View a copy of the email on our website here changeofpace.com -> from the home page, navigate to the Moonlight Run (click logo or use menu) -> click the tab for 'Archive of Correspondence to Reg. Participants --> click link to open PDF. #davismoonlightrace #Davismoonlightrun #rundavis #moonlightrun #davisca #runsacramento #norcaltourdefit #moonlightrace
2 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
3/6
Race night will be here soon - 26 days to be exact! Above is a throwback collage from the 2012 race. 

The next entry fee cut-off is this Wednesday, June 15. Sign up now to save some $$, and make plans to join us on July 9th! 

#davismoonlightrace #davismoonlightrun #moonlightrun
Race night will be here soon - 26 days to be exact! Above is a throwback collage from the 2012 race. The next entry fee cut-off is this Wednesday, June 15. Sign up now to save some $$, and make plans to join us on July 9th! #davismoonlightrace #davismoonlightrun #moonlightrun
2 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
4/6
👟The Labor Day Race is a longstanding Davis tradition, dating back to 1997! We are thrilled to report that we will be bringing this event back after a 2 year hiatus. 🎉

Registration is now open for the race! Register for the 5K or 10K for $35 ($30 for 16 and Under) by July 2nd. Race Day is Monday, Sept. 5th. 

#davislaborday #davislabordayrace #davislabordayrun #rundavis #runsacramento #labordayrun #laborday #labordayrace #fleetfeetdavis #gvh #goldenvalleyharriers #daviscenteralpark
👟The Labor Day Race is a longstanding Davis tradition, dating back to 1997! We are thrilled to report that we will be bringing this event back after a 2 year hiatus. 🎉 Registration is now open for the race! Register for the 5K or 10K for $35 ($30 for 16 and Under) by July 2nd. Race Day is Monday, Sept. 5th. #davislaborday #davislabordayrace #davislabordayrun #rundavis #runsacramento #labordayrun #laborday #labordayrace #fleetfeetdavis #gvh #goldenvalleyharriers #daviscenteralpark
3 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
5/6
Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kaiser Permanente Women's Fitness Festival in Sacramento. It’s always great to be around inspiring women and girls! I've always found it important both as a race director and a race participant to volunteer at other races every now and again to keep a broad perspective. It provides valuable insight and fresh ideas, and deepens my appreciation for the people who volunteer at our races. Thank you to @fleetfeetsac for having me. 

If you are looking to volunteer in the near future, we are seeking volunteers for the Folsom Firecracker (Monday, July 4th) race for both packet pick up (held at @ Fleet Feet Folsom on 7/3) and on race day; as well as for our Saturday, July 9th evening race, the Davis Moonlight Run. 

Besides giving back to the local running community, we offer a complimentary entry to a future ACoP event if you would like one. If you volunteer for packet pick up or event day registration, you can use your free entry for that same event. Those spots always fill up first, so be sure to sign up in advance!

For more information or to sign up to help, visit changeofpace.com - the volunteer sign up links are right on the home page.  I'm happy to answer any questions in comments or by DM! 

#volunteering #racevolunteer #folsomfirecracker #davismoonlightrun #davismoonlightrace thank you #fleetfeetsac  @fleetfeetfolsomroseville
Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kaiser Permanente Women's Fitness Festival in Sacramento. It’s always great to be around inspiring women and girls! I've always found it important both as a race director and a race participant to volunteer at other races every now and again to keep a broad perspective. It provides valuable insight and fresh ideas, and deepens my appreciation for the people who volunteer at our races. Thank you to @fleetfeetsac for having me. If you are looking to volunteer in the near future, we are seeking volunteers for the Folsom Firecracker (Monday, July 4th) race for both packet pick up (held at @ Fleet Feet Folsom on 7/3) and on race day; as well as for our Saturday, July 9th evening race, the Davis Moonlight Run. Besides giving back to the local running community, we offer a complimentary entry to a future ACoP event if you would like one. If you volunteer for packet pick up or event day registration, you can use your free entry for that same event. Those spots always fill up first, so be sure to sign up in advance! For more information or to sign up to help, visit changeofpace.com - the volunteer sign up links are right on the home page. I'm happy to answer any questions in comments or by DM! #volunteering #racevolunteer #folsomfirecracker #davismoonlightrun #davismoonlightrace thank you #fleetfeetsac @fleetfeetfolsomroseville
3 weeks ago
View on Instagram |
6/6

Upcoming ACOP Events

 
  1. Folsom Firecracker

    July 4 @ 7:30 am - 11:00 am
  2. Davis Moonlight Race

    July 9 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
  3. Paddlesplash Water Festival

    July 22 @ 8:00 am - July 24 @ 4:00 pm
  4. Tahoe Na-lu

    August 6 @ 8:00 am - August 7 @ 3:00 pm
  5. Davis Labor Day Run

    September 5 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am

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