Why Is a Marathon 26.6 Miles Long?


Runners and most spectators know that a marathon is 26.2 miles — 26 miles and 385 yards to be exact — but why? That’s because in 1908 the Olympics were held in London. Initially, a 25-mile course was set to begin in Windsor and finish at the newly-built Olympic Stadium in White City. However, course planners received a request from the Queen, who asked that the starting line be moved to Windsor Castle so that Princess Mary and her children could watch from a window. With the route change, a mile was added, and the course was changed to 26 miles. However, in order for the actual finish line to be directly in front of the royal family’s viewing box inside the stadium, an extra 385 yards had to be added to the end of the course to meet this requirement, and it has remained that way.