INTERACTIVE.The 5 biggest marathons in the world in numbers
Did you know ? We have to go back to the time of Antiquity in -490 BC to find a trace of the first marathon in history thanks to the Greek messenger Phidippides. He would have run from the city of Marathon to Athens for a distance of 40 km before dying of fatigue. But then why this famous distance of 42.195 km? It was not until 1908, during the London Olympics, that the distance was stopped. Indeed, the English royal family wanted the race to start at Windsor Castle and end at White City Stadium. That is a distance of 41.83 km separating Windsor from White City. It was necessary to add 3.218 km for the marathoners to finish their race at the feet of the royal family in front of the box of the stadium as desired. Following this change in distance and after several discussions, the official distance was definitely increased to 42.195 km in 1921. *
From the most extreme , to the most unusual , including the most urban and popular marathons in the US and outside of the US , Keeprunworld tells you more about the world’s biggest marathons! Ready, set, go !
The Boston Marathon is by far the oldest annual marathon among the seven major races of the year. It has been held since 1897 in the city of Massachussets. That is 110 years before the youngest, the Tokyo Marathon, the first edition of which was run on March 18, 2007. Between these two extremes, Berlin (1974), Paris (1976), Chicago (1977) and London (1981) complete the list.
In addition to being the oldest organized annually , having one of the richest history, it remains one of the most contested marathons on the planet.
Each year the battle is tough to hang on to this so prestigious victory and to join the lineage of great marathon runners who have left their mark on the Boston route and its famous hills.
It is also the most typical layout of this selection , with its famous bumps, its slightly downhill general profile and its straight course.
The highly variable weather conditions, including the wind, greatly influence the lap times. If Boston is generally a rather slow race, the 2011 edition thus saw the watches panic to see the Kenyan Mutaï winning in 2:03:02 ” (then the absolute best time over the distance, but not homologated due to the total gradient of the course) and the American Ryan Hall established in 2h04’58 ”the best national mark in 4th place.
Most popular: New York
With more than 60,000 runners at the start of the 2019 edition, the New York Marathon has once again established itself as the race with the most participants. The American city is well ahead of Paris (49,155) and London (41,262). The success rate at the finish is excellent for the 5 races, from 98.8% in New York to 96.5% in Tokyo.
The New York Marathon also attracts a large number of spectators. They are a little more than two million to follow the event each year. It is followed by Chicago (1.8 million in 2016) and Tokyo (around 1.5 million). Paris is clearly behind. For the fortieth edition this Sunday, 290,000 people are expected along the route.
In the calendar of runners, the Japanese capital comes first. The Tokyo Marathon is organized every year at the end of February.
The Tokyo Marathon is not historically the most important in Japan. The Fukuoka event holds this prize and was for a long time one of the flagship marathons on the planet.
But over the years, the race in the capital has established itself as a major international event. The lap times up front and the density of the performances are quite impressive and the popular fervor which surrounds the race is a reflection of the passion of the Japanese for the discipline.
The Fastest: Berlin
To beat the marathon world record, it is highly recommended to run in Berlin. Since the creation of the event, the best brand on the planet has fallen ten times in the German capital: seven times for men and three times for women. The reason ? The Berlin course is completely flat, unlike the other races, which offer a slight drop in height. The last six men’s records have been established there since 2003. The most recent: that of Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, the current record holder with a time of 2 h 1 min 39 s in 2018. In women, Gladys Cherono retains hers since 2018 with a time of 2 h 18 min 11 s.
Largest fundraiser: London
The London marathon is the largest annual fundraising event in the world. Since its launch 39 years ago, runners have raised over $790 million for charity. The highest amount raised by a single runner was Steve Chalke who raised $2.33 million in 2011.