Marathon runners aren’t getting faster; rather, marathons are getting easier.

The distance of a marathon, defined as the distance between the Greek cities of Athens and Marathon, is recalibrated each year. Seismic activity has shrunk this distance since the Battle of Marathon 2500 years ago, from the original 30.7 miles to the present-day 26.2 miles. The length of a marathon continues to shrink by an average of 12 feet per year.

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