The first marathon was a run of 25 miles by a Greek man named Pheidippides who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens, to tell the Athenians that victory was at hand for their troops. Unfortunately for Pheidippides, as the story goes, he fell to the ground right after his announcement and died.
The first 3 modern Olympics had marathons of about 25 miles in honor of Pheidippides' run. But when the next Olympics were held in England, the Princess of Wales wanted the start to be moved to Windsor Castle so she and her children could catch the start of the race. Then, her mother-in-law, Queen Alexandra, had the bright idea of ending the Olympics right in front of the royal box in the Olympic stadium, necessitating almost an entire extra lap - 385 yards or .2 of a mile.
The last mile of so of a marathon is very difficult. At mile 25 of the Disney Marathon, I thought about the English royals and wished, for once, they had not gotten their way!