The marathon is a long-distance running race where athletes compete on a course that is 42.2 kms (officially 42.195 kms) long. Marathon races are conducted on road courses that are part of city roads. The inspiration for the race was a Greek messenger who is believed to have run a similar distance to deliver a message of victory. Marathon races have been dominated by runners from African countries, who hold the record for the all-time 10 fastest finishes in the history of the race.
Though marathon races have been part of Olympics since the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896, the official distance as it stands right now was not fixed until 1921. Barring very few instances women were not allowed to compete in marathon races until 1983, when separate races for women were started.
Besides the Olympics and the World Championships, several marathon races are conducted every year in many cities all over the world. The most prestigious races among them are, New York marathon, Boston marathon, London marathon, Berlin marathon, Chicago marathon, and Tokyo marathon. In these races thousands of amateurs are also allowed to take part along with the professional runners. Races are conducted for different age classifications and also for wheelchair contestants.
- Fell Running — running races done off-road and mostly uphill
- Track and Field Endurance Running — track and field running races over distances of 3kms and greater
- Cross-Country Running — individuals or teams run races which involve courses over natural terrain.
- Skyrunning — a running sport in which athletes compete on a course that leads through mountains.
- Ultramarathon — very long-distance endurance events, ranging from greater than Marathon distance to several days. Ultramarathons can either cover a specified distance, or take place during a specified time frame, with the winner covering the most distance in that time.
- Running (general)
- Adventure Sports
- Major marathon races from around the world
- Marathon at the Olympics
- Nutrition and the Marathon
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports