The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards),that is usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the legendary run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger ho ran with the news of battle from the plains of Marathon to the City of Athens, which was under 40.3km (25 miles) away.
He finished the distance and manage to cough out the word ‘Nike’ or ‘Niki’ which (Greek: Τ/Β Νίκη) means “Victory” before he promptly collapse and died – Not a very inspirational way to promote the marathon running.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, to commemorate Pheidippides’ run, The distance for that event was 39.9km (24.85 miles) and was won by Spiridon Louis of Greek. Ot wasn’t until 1908 London Olympics, that the modern distance of 42.125km (26.2 miles) came into existence.
Organizers that year wanted to start the race at Windsor Castle and end it at the White City Stadium, 41.84km (26 miles) away. They added the 321m (0.2 miles) so the distance so that the race could finish right in front the royal family and so the official distance of the marathon was change from from 39.9km (24.85 miles) to 42.125km (26.2 miles). The distance did not become standardized until 1921.