The first marathon was run in Greece in 490 B.C. A soldier by the name of Pheidippedes ran from the battlefield in the small town of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message of victory. After telling the people of the Greek victory over the Persians, he collapsed and died. He was honored by the creation of a race that commemorates the original run of 24.85 miles (40,000 meters). The last 2.2 miles was added during the 1908 Olympic Games in England so that the race could finish in front of the royal viewing box.
There are several poignant happenings throughout the history of the marathon, but let’s jump ahead to the 1972 Olympics when American Frank Shorter won the gold medal. This began marathon mania in earnest and the run has grown in popularity since that time. Most participants of the marathon races are racing the clock for personal glory. Having met qualifying times to participate, their goal is to beat their personal best and to continue to whittle minutes from their time. Marathon racing is so widely popular at this point that the registry for some of the big races in the states fills up within just a few hours and has to be closed.
There are many celebrity participants in marathons that include musicians, models, actors, politicians, sports figures and other personalities. Following are just a few who have competed and finished:
- Meredith Baxter
- Valerie Bertinelli
- Mario Lopez
- Ryan Reynolds
- Drew Carey
- Oprah Winfrey
- Sean Combs
- Alanis Morissette
- Lance Armstrong
- Apolo Ohno
- George W. Bush
- Al Gore
Marathon running is not without dangers. They include:
- Water consumption is one of the primary concerns. Over-consumption can dilute sodium levels in the body and this may lead to vomiting, seizures, coma and even death. It is important that a runner only drink when they are thirsty.
- Overuse injuries are another concern. It is important to allow the body sufficient time to repair and heal itself following the big race, prior to resuming your activity schedule.
If you are a runner and are contemplating training for a marathon, check with Dr. Gauntt. Make sure you have addressed any outstanding concerns about pain you may be experiencing in your feet and ankles before you begin rigorous training. Call the Hillsboro office at (503) 648-1713, the Newberg office at (503) 538-0466 or the Beaverton office at (503) 292-9252 for an examination. He may be able to offer advice and specific suggestions for you. Make sure your shoes are in great condition and fit your feet appropriately.
Do you have a marathon story you would like to share? we would love to hear from you – comment below!
K.G. Gauntt, DPM