Why Are Marathons 26.2 Miles Long?
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The first marathon was held at the 1896 Olympics in Athens to commemorate the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.
According to legend, Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles to announce the Athenians' victory over the Persians. After he delivered the victory message, he keeled over and died.
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