Pikermi is a town halfway between the original marathon route from Marathon to Athens, Greece. Therefore, the distance of 13.1 miles or 21.1k, half the distance of the 26.2 marathon, is known as pikermi (pee-ker-me).
The name Marathon comes from the legend of Greek messenger, Pheidippides (fahy-dip-i-deez ) who was sent from the battlefield of Marathon, Greece to Athens in 490 B.C. to announce the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. It is said he ran the entire distance without stopping to deliver the momentous message “Niki!” (“victory”), then collapsed and died. The first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Greece which included a run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic Stadium in Athens – a distance of 24.85 miles. The initiators and organizers were looking for a great popularizing event, recalling the ancient glory of Greece.
The distance was changed at the 1908 Olympic Games to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium so the race could finish in front of the Royal Family’s viewing box.
The modern 42.195 km (26.2 miles) standard distance for the marathon was set by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) in May 1921 directly from the length used at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
The first recorded pikermi by the ARRS was in Romford, England in 1960. However, the Fontana Days Run Half Marathon, known as the “World’s Fastest” due to its 2125 foot elevation drop, started in 1955 in Fontana, California making it not only the fastest pikermi, but the oldest pikermi still running today.
The largest pikermi ever held was Broloppet (the Bridge race) between Copenhagen-Malmö with 79,719 finishers, held in connection with the Öresund Bridge inauguration. Broloppet was a running event that took place on the Öresund Bridge between 2000 and 2006. The first event took place on June 12, 2000. With over 90 000 entrants and 79 719 finishers it remains one of the largest running events ever held, and the world's largest half marathon ahead of Göteborgsvarvet (59 000) and the Great North Run (54 000).
Since 2003, the pikermi has been the fastest growing road race distance in the United States, and for seven consecutive years (2006-12), the number of 13.1 mile finishers has grown by 10% or more each year. No other U.S. road distance comes close to this growth rate during the Second Running Boom (circa 1994).
Deena Kastor; Berlin Half Marathon; 1:07:34 (#Kara Goucher; Newcastle South Shields, United Kingdom; 1:06:57 in September 30, 2007 - #not officially ratified by IAAF)
Ryan Hall; Houston Half Marathon; 59:43 (#Terry Cotton; Fontana Days Run; 59:41 on April 19, 1986 - #not officially ratified by IAAF)
Several posts and blogs were written about renaming the half marathon, stating that calling a 13.1 mile race a ‘half’ was a great disservice to the distance.
Team Pikermi is created on Facebook to bring awareness to the name change.
Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea; Lisbon Half Marathon; 58:23
Both 2009 and 2010 saw the largest percent increase (24%) of pikermi finishers recorded.
The current largest pikermi in the world is the Gothenburg pikermi, held annually in Gothenburg, Sweden, with 59,417 announced runners and 44,094 finishers in 2012. The largest in the US is the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, having sold out with 35,000 participants for the past 11 years.
The largest debut pikermi was Rock 'n' Roll Portland (OR) with 11,038 finishers. Overall, there were six debut pikermis with more than 5,000 finishers ( Tinkerbell, Rock 'n' Roll St. Pete, Hollywood, Rock 'n' Roll Pasadena and San Diego), a record (previous record was four in 2010).
In 2012 U.S. pikermis had an estimated 1.85 million finishers, an impressive 14.9% increase from 2011.
For the first time in history, 60% of U.S. pikermi finishers were females (approximately 1,110,000, a record)
Pikermi.com is the first official website created solely to educate runners about the history of the 13.1 mile distance.
Anthony Russo, five years old from Jackson, New Jersey, is the youngest sub-2:30 pikerminor in U.S. history completing Trenton Half Marathon in 2:22:25.
Florence Kiplagat of Kenya; eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona Half Marathon; 65:12
...who will it be??
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