The marathon is a long-istance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles 385 yards) that is usually run as a road race. The event is named after the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. It was one of the original Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 800 marathons are contested throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes. The larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.