A (very) short History of running

Running as a competitive sport has been mentioned since antiquity, and it was certainly included in the original Olympic Games of ancient Greece. In fact, foot races were the main events in the very first Games. Held in 776 BC, the First Olympiad’s only event was the δρόμος, a foot race the length of one stade (lap of the stadium), or 200 strides, the units by which the temple of Zeus was measured. In terms of modern units, this would be somewhat less than 200 metres.

It was not until the fourteenth Olympiad, in 724 BC, that a second event was added to the programme, the double-foot race or δίαυλος, double the length of the stadium race. Subsequent Olympiads saw the introduction of other athletic events, such as the long race (δόλιχος, either 20 or 24 stades in length), field events, the pentathlon and some events that are no longer included in any modern athletics programme, including a race in which men competed in armour. Incidentally, besides this particular race, all other events were undertaken in the nude.