Olympic Games

Running race

The diaulos (running race) is another speed race, in which the athletes cover a distance of about 380 meters, twice the distance of the stadion. In this event, the runners set off from the starting point, reach the finish line, turn at the bend and finish back at the starting point.

The stadium is also the venue for the dolichos running race, an event where the athletes usually run a distance of 20 stadia, i.e. 3,700 – 3,850 meters.

Black Figure lekythos depicting a foot race. 6th-5th century BC.


This vase depicts a scene with a chariot the thrippon race i.e. chariots with four horses. Horse racing was one of the most spectacular events. Only wealthy citizens took part, as only they could affords to breed horses. The owners hired horsemen (for chariot racing) to race on their behalf. The winners, however, were the owners of the horses. The races were held in the hippodromus, a ground that resembled a stadium, but much larger in size. The chariot races and horse races were the only evets where women could be winners, as owners of horses and chariots.

Vase depicting a chariot race. 6th – 5th century BC.


  • Diaulos: Running race. Athletes had to cover a distance of about 380 meters, twice the distance of the stadion.
  • Dolichos: Endurance running race. Athletes had to cover a distance of 3,700 – 3,850 meters. Distance varied between 7 and 24 stadia, with 20 stadia being the standard.


Organize your own Olympic Games or foot race with your friends. Mark the starting line on the ground. If you are by the sea, prepare a sand pit and practice the long jump. Use rocks as hand weights (halters) and try leaping without a running start, using your momentum.

  • You can organize your games anywhere, at school, in your back yard, on the beach, during an excursion. Make prizes, wreaths, and red ribbons, for the winners.



If you ever visit Olympia, go to the stadium, and run like an ancient athlete in the Olympic Games. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and a sun hat, if needed.


Write down the five events comprising the modern pentathlon.

Olympic Games