Saturday, August 30, 2008

The fascination with the .2

The distance of the marathon is not 26 miles, but 26.2 miles.

  • The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.

  • Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message "Niki!" ("victory"), then collapsed and died.

  • The Athens Marathon is recognized as the original marathon course and it's the same course used in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens.

  • The first modern Olympic games were held in 1896 in Greece.

  • The legend of Pheidippides was honored by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens.

  • At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the 2.2 miles added on so the race could finish in front of royal family's viewing box. This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.

  • During all of my long training runs, I always try and end up with a .2 after whatever miles I have run for the day. My family gave me a Garmin watch for Christmas two years ago and it is a great way to track how far you are running and it helps me make sure I complete the all important .2.

    Last week I ran 19.2 miles. That leaves only 7 more miles.

    Today I ran 20.2 miles. That means on marathon day I only have to tack on 6 more miles.

    Somehow that seems so important to tack on the .2 in training. Have to do that during the marathon so might as well practice running those last 385 yards.

    I have yet to shout, "God save the queen" during my training runs. That would be weird. Maybe I will try to do that at my next marathon :)

    1 comment:

    1. I must confess I have never shouted "God Save the Queen" at 24 miles in a marathon and I was born in England and lived there until I was 26. I usually find myself shouting in my head " Where the heck is the finish line?" at 24 miles. :)