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 ofthe fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens.The historical accuracy of this legend is in doubt,contradicted by accounts given by Herodotus, in particular.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896,
though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 500 marathons are contested throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes. Larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.
A record 12,500 runners are set to take part in the Athens Classic Marathon on Oct. 31, which will mark 2,500 years since the Battle of Marathon.