This is the distance of the modern marathon running race.
Here is some history: (taken from history.com)
The marathon may have ancient roots, but the foot race’s official length of 26.2 miles wasn’t established until the 20th century. The first organized marathon was run in Athens at the 1896 Olympics, the start of the Games’ modern era. The ancient games, which took place in Greece from around 776 B.C. to A.D. 393, never included such long-distance races.
The idea for the modern marathon was inspired by the legend of an ancient Greek messenger who raced from the site of Marathon to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, or nearly 25 miles, with the news of an important Greek victory over an invading army of Persians in 490 B.C. After making his announcement, the exhausted messenger collapsed and died. To commemorate his dramatic run, the distance of the 1896 Olympic marathon was set at 40 kilometers.
For the next few Olympics, the length of the marathon remained close to 25 miles. But at the 1908 Games in London, the course was extended, allegedly to accommodate the British royal family. Reportedly, Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the lawn of Windsor Castle (so the littlest royals could watch from the window of their nursery, according to some accounts) and finish in front of the royal box at the Olympic stadium—a distance that happened to be 26.2 miles (26 miles and 385 yards). The random boost in mileage ended up sticking, and in 1921 the length of a marathon was formally standardized at 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers).
This distance is planted in the heads and minds of anyone who has ever run. It is a major milestone to accomplish.
This last Saturday, I went out for a long training run. I did 28.5 miles, about 2 miles more than the 26.2 distance. When I hit the 26 mile mark on my run, I remember having a feeling of “you are done, you need to stop”. It was almost like that distance is a limiting belief.
Your body will respond to what your mind tells it. 26.2 is a number that is planted in my head.
What if history was different and the distance for a marathon was 19.6 miles. Then our entire running community would be different and that distance would be that milestone that everyone wanted to reach.
26.2 is an odd number when you think about it.
I am working on my personal understanding of limits. I have lived my entire life with the world telling me what my limits are.
I am working to remove limits from my life and from my mindset. Ask yourself what is possible. Dream big. Visualize grand accomplishments.
I am running a 50 mile race in a few weeks. 26.2 will not limit me anymore.
Random Running Thoughts
I hate the wind. (as it blows in my face)
I love the wind. (as it blows in my back)