The idea of a marathon race was first introduced in the 1896 Olympics by Michel Bréal in Athens. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee and regarded as the father of the modern Olympic Games, supported the idea.
The long-distance race is usually run on foot as a road race but can be on track routes. It is usually completed by running or a combination of running and walking. Recently, the wheelchair division has been introduced. There are more than 800 marathons held each year under different competitions.
Marathons are set at 26.2 miles (42. 195 km) as set officially in 1921 by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Before January 2004, world records were not officially recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), rather marathon best times were simply recognized as ‘world best’.
The current world record time for the male category was set on September 25, 2022, in the Berlin Marathon by a Kenyan – Eliud Kipchoge, who finished at 2 hours 1 minute and 09 seconds. While the world record for the female category was set on October 13, 2019, in the Chicago Marathon by Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, who finished at 2 hours 14 minutes and 4 seconds, breaking the 16-year record set by Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain at the London Marathon.
Over the years, African athletes have dominated the record table in different marathon competitions. Below we look at the marathon Greatest of All Times from Africa.