Marathon: history and anecdotes of the 42,195 km

Marathon: history and anecdotes of the 42,195 km

How did the marathon started? Why is it exactly 42,195 km? When did it become a Olympic sport? We will answer all these questions and more in this review of the history of the 42,195 km.  There are many different versions of how the marathon was started We all know the legend of the first marathon: Philippides, a Greek messenger, ran the distance from the city of Marathon to Athens, where he announced the victory of the Greek army over the Persians in the Battle of Marathon, before collapsing and dying on the spot. However, there seems to be different versions of this story. A second version states that the Greek soldiers, all highly-trained athletes, ran from Marathon to Athens after winning the Battle of Marathon so they could defend the capital before more Persian ships arrived. A third version suggests that our messenger Philippides ran, not just almost 42 km from Marathon to Athens, but about 240 km from Athens to Sparta; that the run took place not after the battle was won, but before it began; and that the message to be delivered was not a victorious announcement, but a warning about the impending arrival of the Persian army. When was the marathon consider an Olympic sport? We can’t know for sure what really happened, but one thing is clear: this race became an Olympic event during Athens 1896, and has closed the Olympic games ever since. The distance of the first Olympic marathon was 41.8 km, which is the actual distance between the Greek cities of Marathon and Athens. However, as we all know, 41.8 km is...
Mensen Ernst – The first professional Ultra Runner

Mensen Ernst – The first professional Ultra Runner

Mensen Ernst (1795–1843) was born in the village of Fresvik, Norway. He made his living running, mainly through placing bets on himself being able to run a certain distance within a period of time.   PARIS – MOSKAU At the start of the 1830s, Mensen Ernst planned a journey on foot from Paris to Moscow, which he would attempt to complete in only 15 days. The departure date was set for 11th June, 1832, the twentieth anniversary year of Napoleon Bonaparte’s disastrous march on Moscow. Ernst started out from Paris at 4am. He ran about 2,500 kilometers in 14 days averaging over 175km a day Ernst was given a hero’s welcome on his arrival in Moscow, once his identity had been established (with his disheveled appearance he had been mistaken for a beggar; and in any case, he turned up a day earlier than anyone expected). After days of banquets and receptions in Moscow, he travelled to St. Petersburg, where he was presented by no less than Tsar Nicholas I himself. Add to this the 4,000 Francs that Ernst won from wagers, and it might be considered a good couple of weeks’ work. CONSTANTINOPLE – CALCUTTA On a later trip, from Constantinople to Calcutta, he spent 59 days, running140 kilometers per day. It is an incredible achievement to run such a distance without the proper gear and food, crossing that part of the world in the first half of 19th century.  THE LAST CHALLENGE His last trip started in Bad Muskau (Germany), and went through Jerusalem and Cairo, from where he intended to run along the Nile until he...
Ironman Hawaii: The history of the world´s most famous Triathlon

Ironman Hawaii: The history of the world´s most famous Triathlon

The Ironman World Championships is enjoying its 37th edition in Hawaii this year. Since the inception of the event, its magic and legendary status has only grown, planting a seed in triathletes’ minds that’s impossible to dislodge until they’ve experienced the thrill of going to Kona. With a brand as strong as the competitors who take part in its races, it’s easy to forget that what we now take for granted as Ironman began as little more than a dare between athletes to settle the bet of who were the fittest: swimmers, cyclists or runners. The beginnings in 1978 The original Ironman was conceived during the Oahu Perimeter Relay awards ceremony in 1977, where athletes from the Mid-Pacific Road Runners club and the Waikiki Swim club engaged in the usual debate about which sport created the best endurance sportsmen. Commander John Collins of the US Navy suggested an ultimate race to settle the debate once and for all. A combination of three already incredibly tough events held on the island of Oahu: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, a 3.8k sea-swim; the Around Oahu Bike Race, a gusty, crosswind-dogged 185k course (reduced to 180k for the Ironman) and the Honolulu Marathon, a standard 42,2k running race in baking hot Hawaiian conditions. On February 18th 1978, there were only 15 competitors willing to drag themselves through such a monumental sporting challenge. Each of the competitors had their own support crew providing food and drink as the race went on – beer in the case of John Dunbar, a US Navy SEAL whose support team ran out of water during the marathon, but...
The history of Vasaloppet, the world’s oldest & biggest ski race

The history of Vasaloppet, the world’s oldest & biggest ski race

The first race was held in 1922 over the classic 90 km distance from Sälen to Mora in Sweden, commemorating a 1520 historic event In 1520, the young nobleman Gustav Ericsson Vasa was escaping from the troops of Christian II, king of Denmark, Sweden and Norway (the Kalmar Union). Much of the Swedish nobility was in opposition to the king, and had nicknamed him Christian the Tyrant. In a move to silence the opposition, Christian invited the Swedish aristocracy to a reconciliation party in Stockholm, only to have them, including Gustav’s parents, massacred in what came to be known as the Stockholm Bloodbath. Gustav was escaping through Dalarna, fearing for his life if he were discovered by the king’s troops, when he spoke to the assembled men of Mora and tried to convince them to start a rebellion against King Christian, the men refused to join the rebellion, and Gustav started toward Norway to seek refuge. However, he was later caught at Sälen by two Mora brothers on skis – the men in Mora had changed their minds after hearing that the Danish rulers had decided to raise taxes, and they now wanted Gustav to lead the rebellion. After two and a haf years of war, Gustav Vasa was crowned king of Sweden on 6 June 1523 , having defeated the Danish king Christian and dissolved the Kalmar Union. Sweden has been fully independent ever since. Today Vasaloppet winter week has eight different ski races over ten days and there are also Trail running and cycling summer events. Vasaloppet attracts a total of over 90,000 participants every year. Outdoor...
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