marathon-; and related entries ending in -athon, -thon

(Greek: derived from an ancient villiage in Greece, northeast of Athens; as a result of an important Greek victory over the Persians in 490 B.C.)

hackathon (s) (noun), hackathons (pl)
1. A significant amount of time when computer programmers and others who are involved with software and hardware development; as well as, graphic designers, interface designers, and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects or hardware components: Hackathons usually last a full day or up to a week.

Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes; in other situations, the objectives are to create practical software and electronic machines.

2. Etymology: a compilation of hack, in this application, "exploratory programming" + marathon, "a long period of time or challenging activities".
Marathon (s) (noun) (no plural)
Marathon was a small village on a small plain, or a treeless area of land on the east coast of Attica, about 26 miles from Athens where the Athenians defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.

Athens had sent for help from Sparta by sending a professional runner named Phidippides (fih DIP ih deez), or Pheidippides, to run a hundred-mile distance because haste was essential.

No help arrived; so, the 9,000 Athenian army led by Miltiades made a surprise attack against the Persians at Marathon.

According to the later Athenian report, the Athenians lost 192 men in the battle, while the Persians supposedly lost 6,400 men.

Meanwhile, the Athenians waited for news of the battle because they expected to see fleeing Greek soldiers being pursued by Persians and then the city would be burned and they themselves killed or enslaved.

The Athenian army, victors at Marathon, knew well that their people were in agonizing suspense and so they sent a runner back to the city with the great news. According to tradition, it was the same Phidippides who had run for help from Sparta and he ran from Marathon to Athens at top speed; reached the city, barely able to gasp out the news of victory, and died.

The distance from Marathon to Athens was a little over 26 miles and in honor of this run by Phidippides, "marathon races" are run as sporting events over distances of 26 miles, 385 yards; however, no one knows how long it took him to run the very first marathon.

—Compiled from excerpts presented in
"The Battle of Marathon" in The Greeks, A Great Adventure by Isaac Asimov;
Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston, Massachusetts; pages 100-104; 1965.

Pheidippides was running from Marathon to Athens about the Greek victory.

This illustration represents Pheidippides, the Marathon runner who delivered the message of the Greek victory over the Persians to the Athenians.

— This is a picture (with modifications) that was painted by Tom Lovell
for National Geographic as seen in the book Greece and Rome, Builders of Our World;
Published by National Geographic Book Service;
Washington D.C.; 1968; page 151.

marathon (s) (noun), marathons (pl)
A foot race of 26 miles, 385 yards (42 kilometers, 195 meters), which was introduced in 1896 with the revival of the Olympic Games in order to commemorate the runner named Phidippides who carried the news of the defeat of the Persians by the Greeks to Athens; supposedly equal to the distance from Marathon: Since about 1915, the term marathon has also been applied to any competition that requires endurance in time and strength; as in a dance or a swimmer's marathon.

A marathon is also considered a test of courage and character as well as physical endurance.

Before the running of the marathon became popular as a mass-participation sportĀ in the 1970s, there were many who thought that such an activity required superhuman strength.

In the 1972 Munich, German, Olympics, the most memorable aspect of the marathon took place near the end of the race when a West German student, wearing a running uniform with the number 72, came out of the tunnel onto the stadium track ahead of leader Frank Shorter and pretended to be winning the race and got half-way around the track before he was stopped and removed by officials.

marathon (verb), marathons; marathoned; marathoning
To show strength, endurance, and vigor when competing with others in a race, etc.: The young woman was successfully marathoning against her much more experienced athletes who were also running in the race.
marathon (adjective), more marathon, most marathon
1. A reference to an unusually long period of time or a difficult task: There was a marathon session of Congress for several days before the new tax bill was passed.

There were marathon sessions of negotiating with union leaders and company administrators which were not resolved for over a month.

Yesterday, Professor Martin had a marathon time marking 75 examination papers for his literature class.

2. Relating to a great distance or duration: The mountain climbers went on a marathon journey up in the alpines that lasted for three weeks.

Jan's company has been having marathon days of work in order to fill all of the orders that have been coming in for the products.

marathoner (s) (noun), marathoners (pl)
1. Someone who can demonstrate his or her stamina or power of endurance: The opera singer was a marathoner who often showed his lung power as he was performing.

A slim and young marathoner has been working out at a fitness studio for months so she can compete against older and heavier women for the "strongest-woman" contest.

2. Origin late 19th century from Marathon in Greece, the scene of a victory over the Persians in 490 B.C.

The modern race is based on the tradition that a messenger ran from Marathon to Athens, 22 miles, with the news.

The original account was told by Herodotus who wrote that the messenger, Pheidippides, ran the equivalent of 150 miles from Athens to Sparta before the battle asking for help in fighting the Persians.

marathonian (adjective), more marathonian, most marathonian
Conveying an overflowing enthusiasm: The comedian was not only very amusing, but he also stunned his audience with his marathonian skills as a dancer.
marathonic (adjective), more marathonic, most marathonic
Pertaining to a great length of time or material: The politician started his speech with a marathonic introduction that made many people wish he would get to the main purpose of his proposal.
marathoning (s) (noun), marathonings (pl)
Something that is a big challenge to a person's endurance: The marathoning of the dance competition lasted for several hours before a winning couple finally won the contest.
Spartathon (s) (noun), Spartathons (pl)
A 153 mile (246 kilometer) foot race held annually in Greece since 1983 between Athens and Sparta: The Spartathon strives to trace the same route that Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger, ran when he was sent to Sparta from Athens in 490 B.C. to get help in fighting against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.

The Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote: "On the occasion of which we speak, when Pheidippides was sent by the Athenian generals, he arrived in Sparta on the very next day after leaving the city of Athens."

talkathon (s) (noun), talkathons (pl)
Long sessions involving discussions, speeches, or debates: The U.S. Congress is noted for having long talkathons in order to promote special legislative bills that are desired by certain members.
telethon (s) (noun), telethons (pl)
1. A prolonged TV fundraiser: Milton Berle's 16-hour television cancer fundraiser in April, 1949, is probably the first to have been called a telethon.
2. Etymology: from tele of "television" + thon of "marathon".
ultramarathon (s) (noun), ultramarathons (pl)
A cross-country footrace with distances of 30 miles (48 kilometers) or more: Apparently some runners have strived to show their superior strength and endurance by exceeding the regular marathon distance with much longer ultramarathons for publicity reasons and to raise funds for worthy causes.
ultramarathoner (s) (noun), ultramarathoners (pl)
Someone who is in a footrace that is longer than 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers: Some ultramarathoners run 50 miles (80 kilometers) in order to raise money for victims of natural disasters or for some other important purpose.
ultramarathonic (adjective), more ultramarathonic, most ultramarathonic
Relating to something that has been taking an exceptionally long time to accomplish: At the time of this composition, there are those who are convinced that the negotiations between Greece and the European Union are ultramarathonic conditions that are going on and on with no resolutions and could result in a Grexit (Greek exit) from the E.U.