My husband and i were discussing, I wonder where the 26.2 miles came from? during our bike ride in the cities along the Mississippi. So I had to find out. Did you Know that ....
The Athens Marathon is recognized as the original marathon course and it's the same course used in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens. The first modern Olympic games were held in 1896 in Greece. The legend of Pheidippides was honored by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens. Athens Stadium, the finish line for the Athens Marathon stands on the site of a stadium used in classical times. Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker, won the first modern Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds.
At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the 2.2 miles added on so the race could finish in front of royal family's viewing box. This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.
Why you ask even did this begin? The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message "Niki!" ("victory"), then collapsed and died.