How Long Is A Marathon (And Why)?

How Long Is A Marathon (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 26.2 Miles

All around the world, there are many events conducted to test human strength and mental will. Some make it their life goal to achieve certain physical and mental limits. It’s all based on one’s determination and adrenaline level.

There are many athletic events, yet, marathon remains one of the best. It is said that whoever runs a marathon will certainly notice a change in their life since then.

According to historical resources, since the advent of the marathon, the athletes have run a distance of 26.2 miles, i.e. 42.2 km, no more, no less. There is a reason behind this, and the time is taken by every individual to cover this distance varies.

How Long Is A Marathon

How Long Is A Marathon?

Age Time
25 to 304 hours 15 minutes
31 to 344 hours 25 minutes
35 to 454 hours 40 minutes

The current distance of every marathon is 26.2 miles, which is roughly 42.195 km. This distance is split into 25 miles, 1 mile, and 385 yards. People of all ages, gender, and races run in marathons conducted by their cities. Normally, the participants of marathons are noticed to be around the age of 20 to 30, but younger and older people also participate.

A marathon can be conducted as a competitive race or a friendly awareness event.

Even if one cannot finish the race, one can always participate. Whoever the person might be, it is of utmost importance to train in the competition. The average time taken by a person to complete the race depends upon various factors like how long they take to train, their age, and even gender.

According to multiple athletic magazines, the time taken by an average male to complete the race is estimated at around 4 hours 30 minutes, and for women at around 5 hours. Since it takes a long time to complete the race, it is better if the people participating in the race are very well trained and prepared to endure what is to come.


The training schedule can differ based on the level one trains. The training levels can differ based on beginner, intermediate, and advance. Spending time exercising and racing can really be helpful. Proper nutrition is also essential. It is better to eat whole foods, which are dense in energy. Staying hydrated plays a vital role too.

Even the weather plays a great role in racing well. When the conditions are similar to the ones which one trained, they have a better chance of winning too. The course conditions can differ from place to place and if one is familiar with the conditions, the odds are high too.

Why Is A Marathon That Long?

There is a great history behind the distance of a marathon. The first marathon was conducted in the Olympic games held in Athens in 1896. The runnable course chosen was 40 km long, from the gates of Marathon to the Athens Stadium. 1 lap was calculated as 536 meters according to Amateur Athletics Association. The run will begin in the streets and end in the stadium track.

In both American athletics, the course of the marathon was 25 miles, i.e. 40 kilometers. The 1908 Olympic games that took place in London changed the long-standing tradition of the marathon distance. Until then, the distance was roughly calculated. In the London Games, the detailed map was taken into account, and the course was measured backward.


The starting point was set in a way so that the Royal Family can see off the start of the marathon. They planned the marathon from the entrance of the Great Stadium, which ended at Barnespool Bridge, located at Eton. Now, finally, the total course was calculated 26 miles, unlike never before.


The distance of the Royal Box from there was 385 yards. That is when the distance of the marathon was calculated as 25 miles+1 mile+385 yards= 42.195 km. Since then, the standard was set that a marathon must be held in a course with a distance of 26.2 km.

After this, IAAF, found in Berlin, tried to set a proper distance for a marathon course. Finally, they arrived at the old distance of 26.2 km, as planned in the Olympic games of London.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. The determination required to run a marathon is truly impressive, regardless of the age of the participants.

  2. It’s really amazing how the historical marathon distance has been defined and established over time.

  3. It is truly an inspiring event for people of all ages. It’s always interesting to see the widely varied participation.

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