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How Long Is A Marathon?

A long marathon with a group of people running.

How Long Is A Marathon?

Marathons are one of the most grueling and rewarding things a person can do. Running for 26.2 miles is an incredible accomplishment requiring months of training and dedication. But how long is a marathon exactly? In this blog post, we’re going to delve into the history of marathons and explore the distances of different kinds of races.


The modern marathon can be traced back to the first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 1896. The course was set from the village of Marathon to the Olympic Stadium in Athens. According to legend, a messenger ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Greeks over the Persians in 490 BC. The distance measured approximately 25 miles, which became standardized as the marathon distance in 1908.

Nowadays, most marathons are 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers) long. The discrepancy between the original distance and the modern distance can be traced back to the 1908 Olympic Games in London. The starting line was set in front of the royal family’s viewing box in Windsor, and the finish line was placed in front of the royal box at the Olympic Stadium in London, which was exactly 26.2 miles away.

There are also other types of races that are commonly referred to as marathons but are not the official 26.2-mile distance. The half marathon is 13.1 miles (21.1 kilometers) long, and is a popular race for runners who want to challenge themselves but don’t have the time or inclination to train for a full marathon. There are also ultra-marathons, which range from 50 kilometers to 100 miles or more.

How Far Is A Marathon?

There are several factors that can affect the length of a marathon. For example, the course may be slightly longer or shorter depending on the location and logistics of the race organizers. Weather conditions can also play a role in the length of a marathon. A headwind or uphill route can make the race feel longer, whereas a tailwind or downhill course can help runners finish faster.

Finally, it’s worth noting that marathons are not just about the distance. They are also about the mental and physical endurance required to complete the race. Training for a marathon requires discipline, dedication, and a willingness to push through mental barriers. Crossing the finish line is an incredible accomplishment and one that is only possible with hours of training and support from friends and family.

In conclusion, a marathon is 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers) long and is a challenging and rewarding race that requires months of training and preparation. Half marathons and ultra-marathons are also famous races for runners and can provide unique challenges and experiences. While the length of a marathon can vary slightly depending on the location and weather conditions, the mental and physical fortitude required to complete the race remains the same. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a beginner, running a marathon is an incredible accomplishment that is well worth the effort.

Check out our race catalog for more exciting marathons, half marathons, and other races.