Although it has its roots in Greek legend, the marathon is one of the most modern of athletics events. The first two marathons (run over 24.8 miles) were run as trials to select Greek runners for the 1896 Olympic games.
The Boston Marathon is the longest established of the city marathons, having first been run in 1897. The current official marathon distance is 26 miles 385 yards
For many years, women were barred from running the marathons because it was said they could not safely run the distance. And because they were not allowed to run they could not prove they were capable of running it. The first bit breakthrough in women’s marathon running came in 1971 when the New York marathon added a women’s division.
The first women’s Olympic marathon was run in 1984 in Los Angeles
The jogging and running boom of the 1960’s led to a marathon boom in the 1970’s with many recreational runners becoming interested in running the distance. In 1999 at total of 435,000 finished at least one marathon in the US.
Only four men and eight women were able to follow one marathon world record with another. James Peters set four marathon records between 1952 and 1954, while Abebe Bikila, Derek Clayton, and Khalid Khannouchi each set two world records in the race. On the women’s side, Greta Weitz set four world records in a row from 1978 to 1983 (the last stood only for one day!), while Chantal Langlace, Jacqueline Hansen, Christa Vahlensieck, Joyce Smith, Tegla Loroupe and most recently Paula Radcliffe each broke the marathon record twice
Perhaps the most famous of all of the world records were the races of Abebe Bikila, the barefoot Ethiopian, who set world records four years apart while winning the Olympic Marathons in 1960 (barefoot) and 1964 (wearing shoes).
World record for men is 2:03:23, set by Wilson Kipsang of Kenya on September 29, 2013 in Berlin. Kipsang broke the previous record set by compatriot Patrick Makau in Berlin in 2011. Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe holds the Women’s Record with her 2003 London Marathon winning time of 2:15:25
Following the success of the pacers over the past few years we have extended them this year. There will be pacers for the following times: 3.00, 3.10, 3.20, 3.30, 3.40, 3.50, 4.00, 4.10, 4:20, 4.30 4:40, 4:50 and 5.00.