Is marathon a sport? Learn more about marathons and get some tips when you join your first marathon.
If you are interested in an exciting, challenging, and compelling competition of human endurance, you may have thought about running a marathon. It is not unusual to see marathons on TV, particularly during the Olympics, or you might follow the Boston Marathon. At the same time, is a marathon a sport?
A marathon is a sport because it meets the definition of a sport. A marathon is a human activity involving physical exertion and skill. It is a competition against not only oneself but also the other people in the race, so it certainly qualifies as a sport.
So, why is a marathon a sport, and what do you need to know if you are interested in running a marathon?
What Is A Sport?
- A human activity where physical exertion and skill are the primary foci of said activity
- Include elements of social participation or competition with either oneself or the other competitors
- Governed by a set of rules where specific regulations must be observed
As long as the activity meets the above qualifications, it should be categorized as a sport.
Why A Marathon Is A Sport
After looking at the criteria above, it is obvious that a marathon is a sport. Some of the reasons why include:
- A marathon is a tremendous test of human physical endurance. Someone attempting to finish a marathon, let alone finish a marathon quickly, must have the athletic skill, strength, and endurance to do so.
- There are elements of social participation and competition in a marathon. Many people who train for a marathon often train with others, pushing themselves to their limits. Then, during a marathon, runners typically compete against not only themselves but everyone else, attempting to finish it to the best of their abilities.
- There are specific rules that govern a marathon race. All of the competitors have to run the same course, and they must stay within bounds during the race. All competitors also have access to water and refueling stations along the way.
Because a marathon satisfies all of the criteria above, it is categorized as a sport.
What Exactly Is A Marathon?
A marathon is a long-distance running race. Strictly, a marathon is exactly 26 miles and 385 yards.
In imperial units, it is usually shortened to 26.2 miles. It is also 42.2 kilometers.
Even though all marathons are the same distance, there are factors that can make marathons harder or easier. Some of the factors include:
- The temperature and humidity can drastically impact how runners feel during the race.
- The number of water or Gatorade stations can also impact how runners feel.
- The presence or absence of wind on the day of the race can also impact the outcome of the event.
- The time of day at which the marathon is run can also impact the running conditions.
- Elevation changes, or a lack thereof, can also make a marathon harder or easier.
For these reasons, marathons are run under different conditions throughout the year. To learn more, check out our explainer on running in the rain.
Tips For Running Your First Marathon
If you are interested in running a marathon, there are several tips you should follow. They include:
- Do not underestimate how hot you will get during the race. Do not overdress for the marathon, or you could make the race unnecessarily difficult.
- Follow the shortest course possible. You are required to stay within bounds, but you should not take turns any wider than you have to.
- Go to the bathroom right before the race. It can be tempting to take a bathroom break, but try to avoid doing so.
- You need to get plenty of rest before the marathon. Try to go to bed early after eating a meal where you load up on carbs to give your body the strength it needs.
- Pick your shoes carefully. Ideally, you should wear the same shoes you have been training in, as long as they are comfortable for you.
- Bring a pair of sunglasses with you. You need to protect your eyes during the race, and having the sun in your eyes can make you tired over several hours.
- Stop for water or energy gels at the refueling stations. It is critical not to get dehydrated and to provide your body with a source of energy.
You might find our guide on can you run in walking shoes useful.
If you follow these tips, you should put yourself in the best position possible to be successful during the race.