Marathon, the longest race on the Olympic programme, can be traced back to the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC when a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran over 42 km from the scene of the battle to Athens to deliver the news of a military victory over the invading Persians.
Pheidippides, who died from exhaustion after supposedly having run 150 miles the day before as well, was the inspiration behind the introduction of marathon to the Olympic program in the first edition of the Summer Olympics in 1896.
The race covered a distance of 40 km in the first edition of the modern Games before being extended to 26 miles on the imperial measurement. A further 385 yards were added in the London 1908 Games and that distance was standardised in 1921.
A women’s marathon event was added to the Olympic programme in 1984.
Doha 2019 will see the debut of midnight marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships. The event will be one to watch, especially as it takes place along Doha’s iconic corniche and against a backdrop of the beautifully-illuminated skyline.
“I think this is an innovation. It’s very different. It will actually meet some of the needs of some of the big marathon markets around the world, and clearly we need to think also about the nature of the athletes themselves and their welfare,” the IAAF president said.
Speaking about the athletes’ views on the first-ever World Championships midnight marathon, Coe said “they are very excited,” and added that a lot of marathon runners are supportive of the idea.
“I think the fact that the public and the television viewers will be able to see it is set against such a stunning backdrop,” Coe added.
Fans can buy tickets online now to ensure that they don’t miss out on any of the action of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which runs from Friday 27 September to Sunday 6 October. The easy online process begins here: https://iaafworldathleticschamps.com/doha2019/