Running is one of the most popular sports done to keep fit and although it is not for the faint hearted, the art of long distance running could be described as the feat of maximum endurance. There have been several athletes over the years that have excelled in this field and some great names spring to mind such as Kinisa Bekele, Paavo Nurmi as well as the diminutive Ethiopian Haile Gebreseilassi.
Probably the most famous and most prestigious of long distance running events is the marathon, a race run over a distance of 26 miles or 42 kilometres. This was the distance from Marathon to Athens which was travelled by Philippides to warn the King of Athens on impending disaster before a great battle in Ancient Greece. The distance began being run quite regularly in the late 19th century when the Olympic Games came into being and in recent decades women have also started running the race.
The marathon has become an incredibly popular sporting event now held in major cities all over the world. Other long distance races include the 5,000 and 10,000 metres where athletes usually participate and specialise in before graduating to the marathon after a period of time. The technique of pacing is also very important in long distance running and there have been several athletes who tried their luck in this genre but failed due to bad race planning.