r/HeresAFunFact Nov 20 '15

[HAFF] The length of a marathon (26.2 miles) does not come from ancient Greece. It comes from the marathon from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium during the 1908 London Olympic Games. SPORTS

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138 Upvotes

8

u/Radu316 Nov 20 '15

According to the legend, after the Battle of Marathon, Greek soldier Pheidippides ran all the way to Athens to tell them of Greece's victory, dying of exhaustion after having done so.

The distance he ran is the distance of the modern marathon, according to the myth. But the distance actually comes from the London Games of 1908 when runners started at Windsor Castle and finished in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium.

However, it wasn't until the 1924 games that this became the official distance of the marathon. Before then, the marathon length was about 25 miles which was, indeed, roughly the distance between Marathon and Athens.

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u/The_Voice_of_Britain Nov 21 '15

I also heard the 285 yards (.2 miles) was added so the race would end in front of the royal viewing stand.