[ mar-uh-thon-er or, especially British, -thuh-ner ]
/ ˈmær əˌθɒn ər or, especially British, -θə nər /
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a runner who competes in a marathon.
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Origin of marathoner

First recorded in 1920–25; marathon + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a marathoner?

A marathoner is someone who competes in or completes a marathon, a 26.22-mile (42.2-kilometer) long-distance race.

Marathons are most commonly running races, and marathoners are perhaps most commonly called marathon runners. But some marathoners complete marathons in wheelchairs.

The word marathoner can be applied to any participant in a marathon but is especially used to refer to a person who regularly competes in marathons.

The term ultramarathon refers to a race of 50 miles or more, and the superhumans who compete in these can be called ultramarathoners.

The word marathon is also often used in a more general way to refer to a contest or event that takes a particularly long time and requires endurance, such as a dance marathon, or in a more figurative way to refer to a task or undertaking that takes a long time and requires patience. But the word marathoner isn’t commonly used in these contexts—it’s typically reserved for a racer in a literal marathon.

Example: I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, so I started training as a marathoner today. 

Where does marathoner come from?

The word marathoner has been used since at least the 1920s. The first records of the word marathon in English in reference to the race come from the 1890s. It comes from the name of a plain in Greece known as Marathon, where the Athenians defeated the Persians in 490 b.c.e. According to legend, an Athenian messenger named Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of the Athenian victory—a distance of around 26 miles. Pheidippides is also said to have run to Sparta before the battle to secure aid from the Spartans.

Technically, the exact length of a marathon is 26 miles 385 yards (42 kilometers 195 meters). But the length is mostly commonly stated as 26.2 miles.

The endings -thon and -athon are taken from marathon and used in the names of events involving a specific activity being done for a particularly long time and for a specific purpose, often as a contest or to raise money or both. Examples include walkathon, telethon, and dance-a-thon.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for marathoner?

  • marathon runner

What are some other forms related to marathoner?

What are some words that often get used in discussing marathoner?

How is marathoner used in real life?

Marathoner in running races are also commonly called marathon runners. The word marathoner can be applied to any participant in a marathon but is especially used to refer to a person who regularly competes in marathons.

Try using marathoner!

True or False?

All marathoners are runners.

How to use marathoner in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for marathoner

/ (ˈmærəθənə) /

a person who runs in a marathon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012