A footrace, one of the contests in the ancient Olympic Games, featuring men in full armor running the 600 pou1 length of Olympia's largest athletic enclosure, or "stadium".

The stadion became the principal unit of distance in ancient Greece; thus we see Phidippides' fabled2 run from the plain of Marathon to Athens, after the Athenian victory over the Persians, represented as thirty-five stadia, and Eratosthenes' lucky estimate of the Earth's circumference given as 250,000 stadia.

In modern times, the length of the stadion is assumed to be the length of the Olympia stadium, about 607 standard feet, or 185 meters.

However, there being no standards bodies in ancient times, the length of the stadion varied from place to place, and also as time passed. The existence of several different distancees labeled as "foot" only added to the confusion. Other stadia have lengths of 192.27m, 177.6m, 197.3m, 101.25m, 99.9m or even 82.75m!

Some of these other measurements may have caused Christopher Columbus to vastly underestimate the length of his 1492 trip to Japan.
1artabic or Greek feet.
2Probably apocryphal

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