Legend has it that in 490 BC, a Greek messenger ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message that the Greeks had defeated the approaching Persian army. The distance between the two towns was exactly 26.2 miles–and so the seeds of the modern-day marathon were sown.
There are a few minor details of the marathon's origin legend that you should probably not pay any attention to. Particularly, pay no attention to the fact that the hapless messenger Pheidippides died of exhaustion shortly after arriving in Athens. Marathons should never be taken lightly, but you'll be fine as long as you remember that these races are all about commitment and preparation. This playlist takes you through some of the things you need to know if you are going to conquer one of the greatest feats of sporting endurance on the planet.