Is a marathon race always 26 miles, 385 yards – and why?

Is a marathon race always 26 miles, 385 yards – and why?

THE London Marathon on Sunday brings into focus what many consider to be the finest test of an athlete. Just how exhausting the race can be was highlighted at the Commonwealth Games when Scotland&#…

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THE London Marathon on Sunday brings into focus what many consider to be the finest test of an athlete.

Just how exhausting the race can be was highlighted at the Commonwealth Games when Scotland’s Callum Hawkins collapsed just one mile short of the finish line.

 The London Marathon takes to the streets of the capital again on SundayRex Features The London Marathon takes to the streets of the capital again on Sunday

So the plucky Brit failed to master the current official marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 yards that has been been recognised since 1921.

The weather in London is hardly likely to match that on the Gold Coast last weekend, so serious episode’s like Hawkins’ are unlikely to occur.

The fastest ever run over the distance came in 2014  when Kenyan Dennis Kimetto ran 2:02:57 at the Berlin Marathon.

The IAAF recognises two world records for women, firstly a ‘Mixed Gender’ record of 2:15:25, set by England’s Paula Radcliffe at the 2003 London Marathon.

 Paula Radcliffe's world record has stood since 2003Getty Images – Getty Paula Radcliffe’s world record has stood since 2003  Dennis Kimetto became the men's world record holder in Berlin in 2014Alamy Dennis Kimetto became the men’s world record holder in Berlin in 2014

Secondly, there is ‘Women Only’ record of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in the 2017 London Marathon.

So is the marathon always 26 miles, 385 yards?

Yes. The distance was adopted by the IAAF in 1921 and it is assumed to derive from the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
The route was originally about 25 miles, but then had to be lengthened due to several reasons:

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