Running is a highly transformative activity and has a proven positive effect on both your mental and physical well-being, but, marathon training can be intense and solitary, so, unwind and take your mind off your schedule by reading 10 surprising facts about those magical 26.2 miles.
The Calories Burnt During a Marathon
The number of calories burnt while running varies slightly for individuals, as weight, gender, and speed all play a role. But, it's widely understood that you burn up to 100 calories per mile, which means you'll burn a whopping 2,620 calories during a marathon!
The 100 Marathon Club Is Real
Entry to The 100 Marathon Club is reserved to runners from the UK and Ireland who have completed 100 marathons or more. Last year alone, 77 new runners joined the club. The club record is held by Brian Mills, who's managed to run an impressive 1,000 marathons in his running career. And the club's quickest 0 to 100 marathons record is held by Philip Rand, who accomplished this in a speedy 450 days.
The Fastest Marathon Times
Dennis Kimetto of Kenya holds the men's world record of 2:02:57, while Paula Radcliffe is the women's record holder, running 2:15:25 at the 2003 London Marathon. Paula ran negative splits, which simply means she ran the second half faster than the first and finished the last 800m in 02:25. To put that in perspective, the current British world record for 800m on the track is 01:56 held by Kelly Holmes. Nike's Breaking 2 project is currently attempting to break the two-hour record for the marathon by creating the perfect conditions for the challenge, everything from climate, terrain, and elevation has been considered, with the Formula 1 circuit in Monza, Italy, chosen as the perfect track for the record attempt expected this May. While for most other people, the average finish time is 4:18:00 for men, and 4:44:00 for women.
The Oldest Marathon Runner
Born in 1911, Fauja Singh is the oldest runner to take part in a marathon. He ran the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, aged 100 at the time, and completed it in a time of 8:11:00. He's no stranger to setting records though: eight years prior, he set the marathon record for the 90+ category in a time of 5:40:00.
The Biggest Marathon
In November 2016, 51,388 runners from over 120 countries finished the New York Marathon, making it the record holder for most participants in a race. It also gained an astronomical 18 million impressions on Facebook.
The Coldest Marathon Ever
Russian jeweller Boris Fyodorov completed his first marathon as a solo runner in -38°C on New Year's Day 2014. The beginner completed his 26.2 miles in just over 5 hours, in the town of Oymyakon, Russia, which is the coldest settlement on the planet.
The First Olympic Marathon For Women
Women weren't allowed to take part in marathon races during the 20th century because it was believed the rigours would be too physically challenging. It wasn't until 1984 that the first women's Olympic marathon took place, with Joan Benoit Samuelson winning the race in a time of 2:24:52. There's now a wide-held belief that women are actually better suited both physically and mentally than men at running long distances.
A Miner Marathon-Trained While Trapped Underground
As one of the miners trapped underground during the 2010 mine disaster in Chile, Edison Pena, spent the 69 days he was underground marathon training by running six miles a day. He completed the New York Marathon less than a month after being rescued from the mine.
The 4,000-Mile Marathon Across the Sahara
In 2007, three runners traversed the entire distance of the Sahara by running two marathons a day for 111 days to cover 4,000 miles from Senegal to the Red Sea. They ran through adverse weather conditions, including intense heat and wind from 4 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. daily.
The Height Marathon Myth
It's a fact that taking part in a marathon can make shave up to half an inch off your height. This is because the discs in your back leak water and become shorter under the repetitive strain of around 50,000 steps. The change is temporary though, and research has shown that running can actually help form new disc cells and avoid disc degeneration.