10 Best Marathon Moments in History

We have all heard the story of Pheidippides, and how he made that legendary run over an absurdly long distance in Greece, from Marathon to Athens. 

Image credit: www.theguardian.com

Since then, marathons became synonymous with the idea of challenging oneself. Although none can truly call himself equal to Pheidippidess feat, there are still moments of great achievement that runners have carved in history. Let's take a look at some of them.

1908 Olympics

The marathon event in the 1908 London Summer Olympics went down as the most exciting race in marathon history. Not just because of the dastardly conditions participants ran under, but because of the strength and the determination of one man. Dorando Pietri was the first to enter the last lap of the race but was so overcome by dehydration and exhaustion that he practically had to be carried over to the finish line. He was disqualified for receiving assistance, but Queen Alexandra was so impressed by his bravery she decided that he should be rewarded and presented him with a silver-gilded cup.                             

1960 Olympics 

In another symbolic Olympic moment, Ethiopian runner Abebe Bikila ran the Olympic marathon barefoot - and won. Not only that, he did it with a record timing of 2:15:16. There weren't any shoes left that fit him well when he went to try some, so he decided to run as he had trained in Ethiopia. When asked why he decided to make do without the shoes, he said that he wanted to let the world know that his country always won with determinism and heroism.

1967s Boston Marathon

Here's one for the ladies: Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. Her burly boyfriend kept the race officials from pulling her off the track, and she managed to complete all 26 miles of the run along with her trainer - proving that women could run long distances too. 

16 October 2011

A seemingly insignificant date: it was the day Fauja Singh completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon; becoming the first person aged 100 to finish a marathon. had completed a total of nine marathons throughout his sporting career, even when he had to overcome depression after losing both his wife and son. Now retired, he plans to continue running for pleasure, health and charity.

31 May 2011

Yet another elderly athlete has set the record for her age group on this day. Harriette Thompson completed the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon with a time of 7:24:36, breaking the previous record of 9:53:16 and becoming the oldest woman to have completed a marathon, albeit by a mere 74 days.  A concert pianist and cancer survivor, she has run this race for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma society 16 times since 1999, missing out only in 2013 due to a battle with cancer. Many of her friends and family have battled cancer she lost her husband to it only this year - and this makes the fundraising personal and important to her. Her 16 years of running has raised more than $100,000 for the society.

2015 SEA Games

In a stunning display of sportsmanship, Singaporean runner Ashley Liew slowed down to wait for his rivals who have followed the wrong route. This small act went unnoticed by many and might have cost him a medal, but he said there were no regrets. 

Many of the best marathon moments hailed from a rare display of sportsmanship than a record-breaking performance. 

Ivan Fernandez Anaya

During a cross-country event in Burlada, Navarre on Dec. 2, this young man gave up his chance at a medal to guide his Kenyan counterpart to the finish line.  Abel Mutai thought the race ended 10 metres before it did and stopped there. He didnt understand Spanish and thus didnt realize his mistake even though spectators were cheering, asking him to go on. Anaya simply did what he thought was the right thing, slowing down and guiding him to the finish line.

2007 London Marathon

Professional football goalkeeper and charity fundraiser Llyod Scott completed this one not with a spectacular timing, but with spectacular attire. Dressed as Indiana Jones, he was chased (him pulling, really) by a 350lb boulder to the finish line. He is also the holder of the world record for the slowest marathon time; he completed the London marathon in 5 days and 8 hours in a deep sea diving suit in 2002. 

1988 Seoul Paralympic Games

This was where Tanni Grey-Thompson won her first paralympic medal representing Great Britain, a 400m bronze. She then went on to win a total of 16 paralympic medals throughout her sporting career, 11 of which were gold medals. She also won the London Wheelchair Marathon six times. After her retirement, she remained active in sports and is now a director of UK Athletics and a board member of the London Marathon. 

2014 Boston Marathon

After the bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, not only did the Americans refuse to back down, they came back stronger than ever. The 2014 Boston Marathon had about 36,000 registered participants, a number second only to that of the 99th edition of the race in 1996. The number of expected spectators was reported to be over a million, twice that of a typical year. Victims of the bombings in the previous year also came back, some even with prosthetics or in wheelchairs. This proved that the tragedy did little to shatter them; it brought them closer together and made them more resilient instead. 


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

Always providing the latest news and reviews in the mass participation sportings scene! If you would like to contribute to our website or have an event to publish, contact us at info@liv3ly.com.

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