Word Geek – Marathon


Ahead of the London Marathon next month, Word Geek was intrigued to find out about the word ‘marathon’. Interestingly, the word has remained unchanged since its origins in Greece.

Originally a place in Greece, the word ‘marathon’ came to be used as a description for the traditional long distance race in 1896. According to records a Greek messenger, called Pheidippides, ran over 22 miles from the plains of Marathon to Athens in 490 BC, to deliver the news that the Athenians and Plataeans had defeated the Persians.

Another story, which some have suggested is more likely to be the original, is that the messenger ran from Athens to Sparta to get help but the aid arrived too late to participate in the battle!

The modern day ‘marathon’ covers a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, as set during the 1908 London Summer Olympics. The word is also used to describe something that lasts a very long time, e.g. a marathon gym session or a marathon Netflix binge.

If you’re running the London Marathon this year, we wish you the best of luck! We can’t help you with your training but do give us a call on +44 1727 862722 if you require help with an upcoming project. Whether it’s a marathon or a sprint, we can ensure your translation reaches the finish line on time. Read about our quality control procedures or email us at enquiries@thelanguagefactory.co.uk.


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