Marathon meaning the long distance run is named after the Marathon War between Greeks and Persians in 490 B.C. As to the legend, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier had run about 40 kilometers to Athens to announce the victory and then died. The first marathon had been arranged in memory of that legendary runner in the Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896.

A Greek villager, Louis had won the race to Athens. This event had created such joy in the community that an innkeeper had promised that he would give free food to the champion villager for one year. And a child had promised that he would shine his shoes free.

In the Olympic Games held in London in 1908, marathon was run for 42.195 meters.

In Turkey, Asia-Europe Marathon which has first hold in 1893 is run every year. A Turkish racer, Veli Ballı had come second in Boston Marathon in 1977 and won the Athens Marathon in 1979.