Marathon v Marathon

Many sports have their marathon, but which is the best? The original marathon was of course on foot. Ancient Greece in 490BC the fabled Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the great victory over the Persians at Marathon. At the end of his run, he paid the ultimate price and showed the world that the marathon challenge was not one to be taken lightly.

The marathon (running variety) was revived in the 19th Century but it wasn’t until the 1908 London Olympic Games that the challenge has a recognised standard distance (26.2 miles or 42.195km) was set.

So, running has its 26.2 mile marathon, cycling has its 100 mile marathon and now, with Marathon Swims swimming has its own marathon – a Marathon 10k. But which is the best? We look at four key areas to decide who wins the race of the marathons:


Back in 1908, over 50 participants in the Virgin London Marathon 2017 would have all beaten the eventual winner and claimed an Olympic gold medal. American Johnny Hayes’s time was 2hours 26 minutes 04 seconds (Johnny actually came second, with Italian Dorando Pietri collapsing just before the finish line, only to receive assistance from an over-enthusiastic official and was subsequently disqualified). But in 2017, the elites will run just outside of two hours and a long tail of everyday athletes will come in at 3+ hours.

Similar times will be posted for Marathon Swims. Elites; two hours, mere mortals; 3+ hours.

Cycling 100 miles will take longer, and depending on conditions, terrain and fellow cyclists, the elites will complete their cycling marathon in less than four hours.


Ove one million people have completed the Virgin Money London Marathon. Cycling is becoming more popular with events such as Prudential Ride London. The number of centuries completed by cyclists is likely to continue to grow. Far fewer people have ever completed a 10k Marathon Swim – so if you want to stand out from the crowd – get wet!


Which is the most difficult? Well, they all have their challenges and different people will find different types of marathon more difficult depending on their own circumstances and abilities. Based on the fact that more people will have completed a running and/or cycling marathon, we give this one to swimming.


This is the decider – which will you brag about most? Which marathon will you be most proud of? Which marathon will most friends be most impressed with?

… and the winner is SWIMMING! (did you think it would be anything else?)

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