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Oldest annual city marathons running in the World

Modified 21 Jun 2015, 15:09 IST
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The marathon became an official sport in 1896 after it was included as an Olympic event in Greece and has grown slowly and steadily in popularity over the years.With thousands of marathons happening in all major cities across the world, it is time to look back on when did they all start!

Boston Marathon

Runners at last year’s Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest  marathon held on Patriots’ day (commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War), the third Monday of April. Inspired by the majesty of the Olympic marathon in 1896, John Graham (a Boston Athletic Association  member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager ) organized this marathon with the assistance of a Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton. On April 19, 1897, the first marathon was run by 15 participants. John J. McDermott of New York, secured first position in 2:55:10, and in the process, created history. This IAAF Gold label marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors and is one of the most popular marathons in the world, attracting around 30,000 runners every year.

Yonkers Marathon, New York

Runners at the 2013 Yonkers Marathon

The Yonkers Marathon was first run in 1907 on Thanksgiving Day (celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year). First run from 1907-1917, the race was revived in 1935 and has been going ever since (excepting 2001, when the race was not held). The 90th edition of this marathon is going to be held on 18th October. Despite its long history, this marathon remains a relatively small event, with several hundred finishers each year. 

Greater Manchester Run

The 2015 Great Manchester Run

This marathon was first run in 1908 for a distance of 20 miles. In 1909, the marathon was run for the now established marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yard. The marathon was not held regularly since in its’ inception and was revived in 2012. This year the 39th edition of the marathon was held on 19th April. The route of this marathon is the flattest in UK and one of the flattest in the world. The race was voted the UK’s Best Marathon for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 by The Running Awards in association with everydayhero, an independent annual awards ceremony celebrating the best of running and its culture as voted by runners.


Comrades Marathon

Twin runners at the 2015 Comrades marathon

The Comrades was run for the first time in1921 by 34 runners. This marathon has been run every year since then with the exception of a break during World War II.  the race was the idea of World War I veteran Vic Clapham, to commemorate the South African soldiers killed during the war. Run annually in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, it is the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon race. The course varies from uphill (Durban to Pietermaritzburg) to downhill (Pietermaritzburg to Durban) depending on the year, with the downhills being run on even numbered years and uphill on the odd numbered years. The 90th edition of the marathon was held on 31st May 2015.


Košice Peace Marathon, Slovakia

In terms of the number of years held, this marathon is the oldest in Europe and the sixth-oldest in the world. The first marathon was held in 1924 and was run by 8 participants. Inspired by marathon race in the Paris Olympic games in 1924, Vojtech Braun Bukovský (a sports enthusiast and journalist) organized this marathon. The marathon takes place each year on the first October Sunday. The 91st  edition of this marathon will be held on 4th October this year.

Published 21 Jun 2015, 12:53 IST
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