The 1964 Olympic Marathon champion Abebe Bikila won the race in trainers in a time of just 2 hours, 12 minutes and 11 seconds. His previous Olympic winning time in the 1960 games where he ran barefoot was 2:21:23.
The marathon’s length of 26 miles, 385 yards is not the exact distance a messenger ran between the battlefield at Marathon and Athens to announce a Greek victory over the Persians in 490BC. In 1896, the runners at the first modern Olympics from Marathon to Athens covered 40km, which is less than 25 miles.
American Fred Lorz’s marathon victory in the 1904 St Louis games was overturned when it was revealed he had hitched a lift in a car for most of the distance before racing to the finish from just four miles out.