Pages: 21 fun facts on the 42K

John Pages

AS THE 2020 Cebu Marathon unfolds at dawn today and as thousands of runners pound the streets of Cebu City, here are interesting tidbits about the 42.195-km. event.

1. The Everest Marathon is the world’s highest marathon, starting at 17,000 feet at Gorak Shep, close to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

2. During the 2007 Boston Marathon, astronaut Sunita Williams ran 42K (in 4 hours and 24 minutes) while onboard the International Space Station.

3. The world’s oldest marathoner is Fauja Singh, who finished the 2011 Toronto Marathon in 8 hours and 11 minutes. He was 100.

4. In 1990, only 25 percent of road race finishers in the US were women. Now, women comprise nearly half of all finishers.

5. In 1977, an eight-year-old (Wesley Paul) ran the NYC Marathon in 3 hours.

6. At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, 17 competitors ran 40K.

7. Football freestyler John Farnworth completed the 2011 London Marathon in 12 hours and 15 minutes, juggling a football the entire distance — not dropping the ball once.

8. It wasn’t until 1921 that 42.195 kms. became the official distance.

9. ‘Marathon’ comes from the legend of Pheidippides. He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to spread the word about the Persian defeat in 490 BC. After completing the run, Pheidippides collapsed and died.

10. In the Midnight Sun Marathon, held in Tromsø, Norway, runners compete under a night time sun.

11. The oldest female marathoner is Gladys Burrill, aged 92.

12. The North Pole Marathon holds the record for the northernmost marathon, with competitors running in temperatures of -30C.

13. There is a “Man vs. Horse” marathon in Wales. Humans have won twice since 2004, especially on unusually hot days.

14. At 200 meters below sea level in the Jordan Valley, the Tiberias Marathon is the lowest marathon in the world.

15. Eliud Kipchoge holds the world record (2018 Berlin Marathon) with a time of 2:01:39. For the women, it’s Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04).

16. The fastest average for men (in 2017) was from Ukraine. Their average marathon time: 3:51:10.

17. The Boston Marathon, which started in 1897, is the world’s oldest annual marathon.

18. As part of the 42K distance of the Great Wall of China Marathon, runners also climb 5,164 steps.

19. The world’s youngest marathoner is Budhia Singh. He finished 48 marathons before his fifth birthday.

20. The 2019 NYC Marathon owns the world record for the number of finishers: 53,627 runners.

21. Markus Jürgens holds a world record. At the 2017 Hannover Marathon, he timed 3 hours and 38 minutes — running backwards!