THE marathon has been a long-standing means of showing the world an athlete's level of endurance, speed and mental strength.
Before 1972, only men were allowed to run marathons. Now all genders and abilities are welcome to show what they are capable of.
Who holds the fastest marathon time and world record?
The fastest male marathon time set by Eliud Kipchoge is two hours, one minute and nine seconds.
The second fastest time is two hours, one minute and 41 seconds. It was set by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.
Early marathon races were various distances, with the 26.2 miles becoming the set standard 28 years after the first marathon in 1896.
Races have to abide by specific rules and conditions set out by the International Association of Athletes Federation.
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The criteria allow for point-to-point courses. As long as a race satisfies these, it can be considered a marathon.
There are a few marathons worldwide that bring people in droves to watch and participate in. These are the:
- New York Marathon
- Boston Marathon
- London Marathon
- Tokyo Marathon
- Berlin Marathon
- Chicago Marathon
Who is Eliud Kipchoge?
Eliud Kipchoge is a two-time Olympic gold medal winner and holds the world record for the fastest marathon time.
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He was born on November 5, 1984, in Kapsisiywa, Nandi District of Kenya.
He had a humble childhood growing up on a farm and often cycled from his home to Kapsabet, carrying gallons of milk to sell at the local market.
He started to jog the long distance from his home to school as a child.
He was first introduced to the competitive distance running world at 16 when he met his longtime coach Patrick Sang, who was also a distance runner.
Eliud's first major win was in 2003 when he won the world championships in the 5,000 meters.
After specialising in that distance, Eliud went on to win bronze in the 2004 Olympics in the 5,000 meter race.
Followed by a bronze at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
He won the 5,000 meter Olympic silver at the 2008 Beijing games and a silver in the 2007 world championships.
After changing to marathon running, he won his first Olympic gold in the 2016 Rio games.
After suffering his first loss in eight years at the London marathon, he made a major comeback by winning his second Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo games.
His current world record title was won at his fifth Berlin marathon in September 2022.
Who holds the female fastest marathon time?
The first women's Olympic marathon happened in Los Angeles in 1984.
The female fastest marathon time is two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, held by Brigid Kosegi from Kenya.
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The second fastest women's time is two hours, 14 minutes and 18 seconds, held by Ruth Chepngetich also from Kenya.
British distance running legend Paula Radcliffe's 2003 London marathon time remains in the top five fastest marathon times at two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
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