The first marathon, legend has it, occurred in ancient Greece in 490 B.C. The Athenians had repelled an invasion by the Persians, and a messenger was dispatched to run from the scene of the battle, the city of Marathon, to the capital at Athens, with news of the victory. He ran the distance, about 26 miles, delivered his message and collapsed, dying on the spot. Scholars question the accuracy of the legend, but it persists as a founding myth of the popular event. The future of the marathon, and of the Summer Olympics in general, may be at risk. A report just published in the British medical journal The Lancet suggests that by the year 2085, almost all of the cities that could host the Summer Games will be too hot for outdoor events.
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