In the beginning there was a run. According to sports historians, the ancestor of the ancient Olympic Games, Hercules, in honor of his victory over King Augeas, arranged a race between his brothers. According to legend, he drew a place for the fence, put his right foot next to the line, then put his left foot on it and repeated this 599 times.
This distance was one stage, equal to about 190 m, from which the name "stadium" came. And in the program of the first Olympic Games of antiquity there was only one-stage running. Only 52 years later, a distance in 2 stages was included in the program of the Games, and after another 4 years the first long distance race took place - 24 stage (about 4.5 km). And only after the runners, jumpers, throwers and all-around athletes entered the Olympic arena.
And the modern history of athletics dates back to running competitions, which are mentioned in English manuscripts as far back as the 12th century. Later, time trial competitions were held in England. So, in 1770, the first result was recorded in an hour-long run - 17 km 300 m.But in fairness, we note that the most popular running competition among the British was the mile run - 1609 m.
In contrast, the Americans staged long, many-hour or even many-day races. So, George Littlewood covered a distance of about 1004 km in 6 days. Another pro runner, Charles Rowell in 12 hours. I ran 144 km 64 m, and 100 miles in 13 hours. 26 minutes
Let us remember, finally, that in Russia, the beginning of athletics was laid in running competitions, when, following the example of England and America, professional runners from Russia and other countries competed in Moscow, Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other large cities, offering to measure their strength in running all comers. The event that served as the beginning of the development of athletics is considered to be the creation of the Tyarlevsky circle of sports fans in 1888, which at first mainly cultivated only running.
The true revival of athletics is linked to the revival of the Olympic Games. And already at the I Olympiad in 1896 in Athens, the focus was on the marathon run, which owes its name to the village of Marathon in Ancient Greece, where in 490 BC. e. there was a battle between the Greeks and the Persians, and a Greek warrior who had run the distance from Marathon to Athens - 40 km, informed the Athenians about the victory. A marathon of this length at the 1st Modern Games was won by the recruit of the Greek army Spiridon Luis with a score of 2: 58.50.0. Only in 1908, when, to please the English royal family, the distance was laid from the walls of Windsor Castle, the distance of the marathon became what we know - 42 km 195 m.
Until 1928, middle and long distance running (as well as other types of athletics) was held in the game program for men only. And after 1928, when women performed very poorly in the 800-meter race, endurance running was not included in the Olympiad programs at all until 1960, where our runner Lyudmila Lysenko won the 800-meter distance.
Thus, women began a kind of endurance race with men when representatives of the stronger sex had been participating in the Olympiads for 64 years, constantly. increasing speed and improving records.
At one time it was believed that long running is contraindicated for the female and children's body. But in the 60s of our century, when the idea of "running for all and for health", widely promoted by New Zealand trainer A. Lydyard and his supporters, swept the world, an event occurred that literally turned our ideas about the physical capabilities of children and women. 13-year-old schoolgirl Mourin Wilson (little Moe) ran a full marathon distance, and overtook many men in this competition!
Over the past twenty years, women have achieved amazing success in endurance running, catching up and often overtaking (literally and figuratively) men. Here is just one but a striking example. In 1983, American athlete Joan Benoit ran the marathon in 2: 22.43. This result would have allowed her to become the winner in the men's competition at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.
Finally, both men and women ran the marathon distance at the World Athletics Forum - the World Championships in Helsinki. And the winner among women, Norwegian Greta Weitz, showed a result of 2: 28.09, exceeding the achievements of at least a dozen of the strongest male marathon runners in the championship.
Of course, women didn’t come out on the track to compete with men. They pursued primarily other goals: improving health, posture, figure. But don't men need the same thing? Or our children?
E. Chen, A. Sinyakov