Trivia Questions and Answers
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150 Marathons Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about Marathons? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to Marathons (Sports). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
Related Questions & Answers:   Track & Field   
1 What was the name of the bare-foot Ethiopian winner of the 1960 Olympic Marathon?
Answer: Abebe Bikila

Abebe Bikila was added to the Ethiopian team for the Rome Olympics at the last minute when a team-mate suffered a broken ankle. When he arrived at the Olympics he could not find any shoes that felt comfortable. He elected to run bare-foot in the same manner he had trained. His remarkable run culminated in a new World & Olympic record. When asked after the race why he had run barefoot, he answered, "I wanted the world to know that my country, Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism." Team-mate Abebe Wakgira was 7th in the race. Tunisian Ahmed Labidi finished 49th and Liberian Alifu Massaquoi finished dead last in 62nd place. Abebe Bikila returned to Olympic competition for the Tokyo Games in 1964 and re-claimed his Golden title -- this time running in shoes.
  From Quiz: Crossing the Finish Line
2 Home to one of the most famous marathons in the world, what American city holds a road race that has a standardized qualifying time for all entrants?
Answer: Boston

The Boston Marathon began in the late 1890s making it one of the oldest road races in all of North America. It has since become one of the premier marathons on the planet; runners fight for a position on the course every April. The youngest people in the race (under the age of 35) need to run a qualifying race in around three hours (for men) or three and a half hours (for women). Because of the high caliber of the racers, the Boston Marathon has been the home course for many world-record breakers in the running and wheelchair racing categories.
  From Quiz: Time Wounds All Heels
3 The Los Angeles Marathon was first run in 1986. What event inspired its creation.
Answer: The success of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

The financially successful Summer Olympics in 1984 provided the impetus for creation of the Los Angeles Marathon. It was anticipated that 2500 runners would compete and almost 11,000 signed up for the race.
    Your options: [ The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the LA Memorial Coliseum. ] [ The completion of the Century Freeway. ] [ The bicentennial of the founding of Los Angeles. ] [ The success of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. ]
  From Quiz: A Jog in the Smog
4 The legend of the marathon goes all the way back to 490 BC. Bringing news of Athens' fine success against the Persians, Pheidippides gave the announcement, "We have won". What happened next?
Answer: He died

For those of you that are considering taking on a 26 mile 385 yard challenge, do not fear. Pheidippides had also ran around 150 miles in two days just prior to his more famous run from Marathon to Athens. As I doubt that there were water stations, showers, or sponges on the route, it's maybe not that surprising that he collapsed of exhaustion.
  From Quiz: Marathon: The 2500th Anniversary
5 The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the United States. What marathon is the second oldest and was first run in 1907?
Answer: Yonkers Marathon

The Yonkers Marathon was first run in 1907, although it was not continuous. The race was halted for World War I and resumed in the 1920s.
  From Quiz: United States Marathons
6 North America's oldest road race is held in which Canadian city?
Answer: Hamilton

Beginning for the first time in 1894, Hamilton's 'Around the Bay' 30 kilometer race predates all other popular road races in North America, even the Boston Marathon. While 'Around the Bay' isn't a Boston qualifier due to its obscure, not-quite-a-marathon length, the race is a prominent stop in Ontario's road race schedule. Later named as a memorial for William Sherring, a Canadian gold medalist in the Olympic marathon, the race crosses most of this Canadian steel town and ends in Copps Coliseum. Sherring went on to win Around the Bay twice in its second decade.
    Your options: [ Toronto ] [ Hamilton ] [ Ottawa ] [ Quebec City ]
  From Quiz: Running the Distance
7 Legend has it that the very first marathon was run in Greece in 490 BC. From what is the word "marathon" derived?
Answer: A place

On the plains of Marathon, a Greek village some twenty-odd miles from Athens, the Greek army won a victory over the Persians in 490 BC. Legend maintains that the runner Pheidippides ran the distance from Marathon to Athens and collapsed and died after announcing the victory. (Like most legends, this one is disputed by historians.)
  From Quiz: Going the Distance: Marathons
8 The Belfast marathon is run in May, but where is Belfast?
Answer: Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland.
  From Quiz: The Belfast Marathon
9 What "Flying Finn" was known to never smile, although he collected 9 Olympic gold medals and set 29 world records in the inter-war years?
Answer: Nurmi

Paavo Nurmi's Olympic achievements spanned three Games (1920-24-28). In 1932 he was declared a professional and banned from entering. In 1952 he brought the Olympic torch into the stadium at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games in Helsinki, creating a thunder amongst the home audience who recognised his stride, and causing the athletes to break rank in order to get a glimpse of the legend.
  From Quiz: Long Distance Running Legends
10 This British long distance runner represented Britain in four Olympics and held the women's fastest marathon record for sixteen years from 2003 to 2019. Who is she?
Answer: Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe is another runner who started running as a child, often accompanying her father on his runs. When she was twelve, she participated in her first national race and finished in 299th place. That was in 1986 and she kept on running. In 1992 she took the Junior title at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Throughout her career she's run cross-country as well as the half and full marathon distances. In 2002 she moved to the marathon distance and ended up winning the London Marathon that year. She's won the New York marathon three times (2004, 2007 and 2008). She's won the London Marathon three times (2002 as well as 2003 and 2005). She's also won the Chicago Marathon. She represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games four consecutive times from 1996 to 2008 but unfortunately never won an Olympic medal.

She held the record for the fastest women's marathon time (a time of 2:15:25) for sixteen years before it was broken in 2019 by Kenyan long distance runner Brigid Kosgei. Running those distances at those speeds certainly takes it's toll and Radcliffe has had some ups and downs in addition to her incredible success. She's contended with a foot injury, a stress fracture in her lower back and a rather embarrassing "top running moment in history" in the UK in 2006 when she had a very public upset stomach during the 2005 London Marathon (which incredibly she still won!)
  From Quiz: We'll Go On, Ever On
11 Held annually since 1897, which American city's world renowned marathon was the target of a terrorist bombing in 2013?
Answer: Boston

The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897, making it one of the longest running sporting events in history, and is one of the six marathons in the World Marathon Majors. It has always been run on Patriots' Day, a public holiday in the state of Massachusetts; since 1969, Patriots' Day has been the third Monday in April.

In 2013, the marathon made headlines across the world when two bombs went off at the finish line of the marathon, injuring over 200 people and killing three. Many participants had not had a chance to complete course, though the winners had crossed the finish line about three hours earlier.
  From Quiz: Running in Place
12 Which Italian marathoner was inadvertently aided to Olympic victory in 2004 by a de-frocked Irish priest?
Answer: Stefano Baldini

Stefano Baldini ran to a surprise Olympic Gold medal in Athens, Greece in a time of 2:10.55. The early leader from Brazil was attacked by Cornelius Horan, a rogue Irish priest with only 7km left in the race. Baldini would pass the Brazilian athlete in the last few kilometers to earn victory for Italy. Jon Brown from Great Britain finished 4th in the race and Australian, Sisay Bezabeh would finish 60th. Gelindo Bordin of Italy was the 1988 Olympic Champion in a time of 2:10.32.
    Your options: [ Gelindo Bordin ] [ Jon Brown ] [ Sisay Bezabeh ] [ Stefano Baldini ]
  From Quiz: Crossing the Finish Line
13 During the first modern Olympics in 1896, marathon racers traveled which even distance?
Answer: 40km

In this inaugural modern Olympic Games, runners of the marathon traveled on foot an even forty kilometers, two and a fifth kilometers less than the standard established in 1924. This distance was meant to reflect the distance between Marathon, the starting line, and Greece's capital city, Athens. The race was won in just under three hours by a Greek participant. Since this early version of the games, the marathon has been the final (and perhaps most epitomizing) event of the events. Women were not allowed to run the marathon event officially until several years later.
    Your options: [ 20km ] [ 40km ] [ 60km ] [ 80km ]
  From Quiz: Time Wounds All Heels
14 Which country, famous for its world-class long distance runners, has produced 12 consecutive men's winners of the Los Angeles Marathon?
Answer: Kenya

From 1999 to 2010 there were 11 different men's winners from Kenya.
    Your options: [ United States ] [ Eritrea ] [ Ethiopia ] [ Kenya ]
  From Quiz: A Jog in the Smog
15 The story of the modern marathon began with the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896. It seemed like the Greeks had managed a straight 1-2-3, but it turned out that the bronze medalist, Spiridon Belokas, had cheated. What was his crime?
Answer: Catching a ride

Apparently, Belokas covered part of the course in a carriage. There was a complaint made by the Hungarian fourth place finisher, and to his credit, Belokas admitted his guilt.

Cheating seems to have been rampant in the early days of the Olympic marathon. There is doubt over whether Michel Theato took a short-cut in 1900, and in 1904 Fred Lorz got a lift in his manager's car.

Nowadays, organisers try and prevent cheating by using timing chips to register whether a runner has crossed certain checkpoints on the course. Unfortunately, there will always be people who try and get around this. In the 2010 Xiamen International Marathon in China, over 30 competitors were disqualified following the discovery of irregularities. Some of the first 100 finishers were caught catching public transport. Some runners carried more than one chip so that their times would register for two people. Some people hired impostors. For runners, a time under 2 hours 34 minutes would give them extra credits for college entrance exams.
  From Quiz: Marathon: The 2500th Anniversary
16 What U.S. Marathon advertised that it is the only marathon to begin in one country and end in another?
Answer: Niagara Falls International Marathon

The Detroit Free Press Marathon course does enter Canada, but it begins and ends in Detroit, Michigan. The Niagara Falls International Marathon began in Buffalo, and ends in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
  From Quiz: United States Marathons
17 What is the technical meaning behind 'Fartlek'?
Answer: A variation of speeds in specific intervals

No, the word doesn't mean what it sounds like. Essentially, other than being a funny word, fartlek also refers to running in different speed intervals. For example, one could alternate between running at a slower pace for ten minutes, and then running fast for two, and repeating. In doing this, a runner can define themselves physically, ensuring that they can attune themselves in different running conditions.
Its not necessarily a must-do for less experienced runners, but road racers will find it beneficial if they want to reach a personal best.
  From Quiz: Running the Distance
18 Which year was the Belfast marathon first run?
Answer: 1982

The marathon on 5th May, 2003 was the 22nd Belfast marathon.
    Your options: [ 1969 ] [ 1982 ] [ 2001 ] [ 1997 ]
  From Quiz: The Belfast Marathon
19 A pioneer of women's long distance running, she won the New York Marathon nine times between 1978 and 1988. In 1983 she became the first T&F world champion ever when she won the marathon race. Her name is:
Answer: Grete Waitz

The marathon was the very first event of the very first World Championships of T&F, held in Helsinki. Grete Waitz started out as a middle distance runner under her maiden name Andersen, before converting to marathon and cross country.
  From Quiz: Long Distance Running Legends
20 Widely regarded as one of the best marathoners ever, this Kenyan runner won both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic gold medal in the event. Oh....and he also ran a marathon in less than two hours. Who is he?
Answer: Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge was born in Kenya in 1984. He started running relatively late compared to a lot of other runners. He was sixteen years old when he met his trainer and in 2002 he won the Kenyan trials for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships junior race. He held the world junior record for 5000 metres from 2003 to 2012 (with a time of 12:52.61 minutes). In 2004 he won a Bronze medal at the Athens Olympics in that distance. He made his debut at the half marathon distance in 2012, competing and finishing in third place. The following year he made his debut at the marathon distance at the Hamburg marathon and at his debut at that event, he not only won but also set a new course record.

In 2015 he won the Berlin marathon with a personal best time despite having shoe problems and finishing with bloodied and blistered feet. In 2015 and 2016 he won the London marathon. He took the Gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning with the largest victory margin since the 1972 Olympic marathon. In 2017 he was one of three runners participating in a Nike event to try and run a marathon in under two hours (this would be the first time ever to achieve this). Kipchoge finished twenty five seconds shy of that goal. His winning streak continued however - he won the London marathon in 2018 and 2019. In 2019 just a few days after running the marathon distance in London, he attempted another sub-two hour marathon, this time achieving that goal with a time of 1:59:40. The achievement went into the Guinness Book of World Records however didn't count as an official IAAF time due to the way the event was set up. For his absolutely incredible achievements and dominance at the marathon distance, he's won several accolades including Best Marathon Runner Awards and Male Athlete of the Year Awards.
  From Quiz: We'll Go On, Ever On
21 Which German athlete earned two Olympic Marathon Gold medals in 1976 and 1980?
Answer: Waldemar Cierpinski

A former Steeplechaser, Waldemar Cierpinski was a relative unknown going into the 1976 Montreal Olympic Marathon. Patient running led to a surprise victory over Frank Shorter of the USA. Four years later, Cierpinski duplicated Abebe Bikila's remarkable feat of winning two consecutive Olympic marathons when he triumphed in the Moscow Olympics. In 1983, Cierpinski earned a Bronze medal at the first edition of the World Athletic Championships in Finland. His bid for an immortal 3rd Olympic gold medal in 1984 was scuppered when the East European countries boycotted the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In 1976, Mario Cuevas from Mexico finished 18th, Jairo Cubillos of Colombia finished 48th, and Neil Cusack of Ireland finished 55th.
    Your options: [ Mario Cuevas ] [ Neil Cusack ] [ Jairo Cubillos ] [ Waldemar Cierpinski ]
  From Quiz: Crossing the Finish Line
22 In order to qualify for the run, you need to run a standard marathon. What time do you need to complete the race in, in order to qualify for the Comrades marathon?
Answer: 5 hours

The whole South African running calendar is geared towards this event. For this reason, most South African marathons (and there are plenty to choose from) have a five hour cut-off.
  From Quiz: Running the Comrades Marathon
23 What U.S. marathon crosses the St. Johns Bridge at mile 17 and goes over the Willamette River?
Answer: Portland Marathon

The Portland Marathon is over 30 years old and is contested annually in October.
  From Quiz: United States Marathons
24 Which obscure location has not been home to a marathon?
Answer: None of these

The Great Wall Marathon held annually is comprised of 42.2 kilometers of the wall itself, complete with stairways, steep inclines and declines, and mountain ranges. Set in Tianjin Province, the race gives new meaning to the term 'hitting the wall'. Numerous different marathons are held in African Savannah regions as well. One such marathon in South Africa focuses on a safari theme, allowing racers to experience the diverse wildlife of Africa along the race course. Greenland is home to the Polar Circle Marathon Series, which takes racers around the Arctic Circle at a time of year where the Sun doesn't set. This unique race is run in comparatively low temperatures compared to others, and its rough tundra and glacial terrain makes the run quite difficult than the regular road race.
All these examples show that sometimes, runners are a bit crazy.
    Your options: [ The Great Wall of China ] [ None of these ] [ The African Savannah ] [ Greenlandic glaciers ]
  From Quiz: Running the Distance
25 The Boston Marathon is for men only, at least it was until which woman became the first to "officially" run the marathon with the men.
Answer: Kathrine Switzer

Kathrine actually signed up as K.V. Switzer, and the officials did not realize she was a woman until the race started and one official actually tried to take her number off of her during the race! Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, but "unofficially" as she hid in the bushes at the start and did not sign up for the race.
    Your options: [ Roberta Gibb ] [ Grete Waitz ] [ Deena Kastor ] [ Kathrine Switzer ]
  From Quiz: 26.2: Can You Go the Distance?
26 Which fact about the early days (1896-1921) of the modern Olympic marathon is untrue?
Answer: Traditionally, the men's marathon was the first Olympic event after the opening ceremonies.

The first seven Olympic marathons (1896-1920) used courses of six different lengths. For the London games in 1908, the course which began at Windsor Castle was lengthened to 42.195 km. This distance has been the official Olympic distance since 1921.

The men's marathon was and remains the closing event of the Olympic Games, with the course ending in a stadium, to cheering crowds.
    Your options: [ Traditionally, the men's marathon was the first Olympic event after the opening ceremonies. ] [ The length of the 1908 marathon was changed so that the course could end at the Royal Box. ] [ The first seven Olympic marathons were run over six different distances. ] [ The first Olympic marathon winner was a shepherd who had a glass of wine while running the course. ]
  From Quiz: Going the Distance: Marathons
27 The Belfast marathon course is run along what?
Answer: Urban streets

The marathon circles around the streets of Belfast and the police assist (as in other city marathons) with the control and stopping of traffic.
  From Quiz: The Belfast Marathon
28 This Australian broke the 10,000 meters world record by more than half a minute in 1965, and also held the record in the 5,000 m through the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
Answer: Ronald Clarke

Steadfast speed was Clarke's skill over tactical ability. In the Olympics, in spite of his superior stamina, he only got a bronze medal (1964, 10,000 meters).
    Your options: [ Murray Halberg ] [ Robert de Castello ] [ David Power ] [ Ronald Clarke ]
  From Quiz: Long Distance Running Legends
29 This adventurous woman pushes so many boundaries. Not only did she become the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 2010, she ran 11 daily 31-mile (50 km) runs in 2021. Who is this incredible athlete?
Answer: Katie Spotz

Katie Spotz, born in 1987, was named Elite Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Coast Guard (where she's an active duty Response Officer) in 2020, and for good reason. Starting in 2008, she has so many incredible achievements and firsts.... Let's start in 2008. She was the first person to swim the entire length of the Allegheny River. That river spans 325 miles (523 kms) between New York State and Pennsylvania. She obviously got a taste for difficult endurance events. In 2010, she rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal, Africa to Guyana, South America. She covered 3,038 miles (4,889 kms), becoming the youngest person to do so, the only American to row the distance and the second woman to do so.

On to 2011 when she joined a team-mate and broke her pelvis while attempting to become the fastest two-person team to cycle across America. Despite breaking her pelvis, they finished the activity in 7 days, 16 hours and 59 minutes. In 2020 she became the first woman to run nonstop across the states of Vermont and New Hampshire and the first person to run nonstop across the state of Maine. In 2021 she broke "the female world record for the most consecutive ultra-marathons in a row by completing 11 daily 31-mile runs" (just under 50 kms).

She competes in Ironman competitions as well as marathons, triathlons and cycling events and raises money for clean water initiatives. She wrote a book about what she learned while traversing the Atlantic Ocean called "Just Keep Rowing."
  From Quiz: We'll Go On, Ever On
30 Which Asian city's marathon, which passes by the Imperial Palace and Hibaya Park, was the last to be added to the World Marathon Majors, in 2013?
Answer: Tokyo

The Tokyo Marathon was the sixth race to be included in the World Marathon Majors. The Tokyo Marathon in its present form (a general marathon open to both men and women) was first run in 2007. In previous years, there were multiple marathons (including a separate one for female runners) held in alternating years. The Tokyo Marathon takes place in late February.
    Your options: [ Mumbai ] [ Seoul ] [ Tokyo ] [ Dubai ]
  From Quiz: Running in Place
31 At the World Championships in 1987 and 1991, which country's athlete earned the silver medal in the Men's marathon?
Answer: Djibouti

Hussein Ahmed Salah became a national hero in the little country of Djibouti when he captured a bronze medal in the marathon at the 1988 Olympic Games held in South Korea. He is also best remembered for two consecutive silver medals at the World Championships. His personal best time in the marathon is
2:07.07 achieved in April of 1988 at the Rotterdam Marathon held in the Netherlands.
    Your options: [ Denmark ] [ Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea ] [ Dominican Republic ] [ Djibouti ]
  From Quiz: Crossing the Finish Line
32 Crossing over 250km of Greek hillsides and streets, what ultramarathon consisting of seventy-five minor checkpoints is meant to follow the route taken by the Greek figure Pheidippides?
Answer: Spartathlon

The Spartathlon begins in Athens at the base of the Acropolis and continues through two hundred fifty kilometers of Greek villages, roadways, mountains, and farmlands before ending at a monument located in Sparta. Perhaps one of the most daunting runs in the world, the trip can take over twenty-four hours, even for a seasoned ultramarathon runner. In fact, if you happen to lag behind between checkpoints, you may be pulled from the footrace for safety reasons. Ultramarathons are races which total over fifty kilometers in length, so this one happens to be a biggie.
  From Quiz: Time Wounds All Heels
33 Approximately how many runners officially entered the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon?
Answer: 25,000

The largest marathon field was the New York City Marathon with nearly 44,000 participants.
  From Quiz: A Jog in the Smog
34 The Comrades Marathon is run in South Africa, but between which two South African cities is the Comrades run?
Answer: Durban and Pietermaritzburg

The "up run" starts in Durban and ends in Pietermaritzburg, whilst the "down run" is run in the opposite direction. But don't let the names fool you. Both runs have plenty of hills to navigate.
    Your options: [ Pietermaritzburg and Bloemfontein ] [ Durban and Pietermaritzburg ] [ Cape Town and Johannesburg ] [ Johannesburg and Pretoria ]
  From Quiz: Running the Comrades Marathon
35 The Capital City Marathon is contested every May in which capital city?
Answer: Olympia, Washington

Part of the Capital City Marathon course runs by the capitol building of the State of Washington.
    Your options: [ Albany, New York ] [ Sacramento, California ] [ Helena, Montana ] [ Olympia, Washington ]
  From Quiz: United States Marathons
36 Which Canadian figure proposed to complete his Marathon of Hope in 1980?
Answer: Terry Fox

Initially diagnosed with cancer at a young age, Fox lost his leg at the age of 18. Three years later in support of cancer, Fox planned a 'Marathon of Hope', in which he would run across Canada to raise money for his cause from the people he met along the way. Fox did this with a prosthetic leg, dipping it in the waters of Newfoundland and running approximately 37 kilometers every day (five short of marathon distance) for his goal. Unfortunately, over the course of the run, Fox's cancer spread and he was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay, Ontario, over five thousand kilometers from where he started (143 days later). He passed away shortly after.
Since the 'Marathon of Hope', Terry Fox runs are held simultaneously across Canada every year in order to raise money for cancer research.
    Your options: [ Steve Prefontaine ] [ Terry Fox ] [ Bruce Fordyce ] [ Tom Longboat ]
  From Quiz: Running the Distance
37 What year did the first official woman run in the Boston Marathon?
Answer: 1967

Roberta Gibb ran it "unofficially" in 1966.
  From Quiz: 26.2: Can You Go the Distance?
38 The race starts outside the City Hall in Belfast. When was the erection of this historic building completed?
Answer: 1906

Belfast has a lot of history within it, but the City Hall is highly impressive and worth attending a sightseeing tour of the building to see in full. Marathon runners may attend a "Pork and Pasta" party in the City Hall the night before the race.
  From Quiz: The Belfast Marathon
39 The 1960 Olympic marathon was won by a bare-footed Ethiopian who four years later became the first man to repeat such a victory. Who was he?
Answer: Abebe Bikila

Algerian-born Frenchman Mimoun won the 1956 marathon, when Ethiopian Wolde made his Olympic debut as a not too promising middle distance runner. By 1968, however, Wolde had converted to the marathon, which he won. Temu, of Kenya, won the 1968 10,000 meters.
  From Quiz: Long Distance Running Legends
40 Which country was the first to win four Olympic gold medals in the men's marathon?
Answer: Ethiopia

The 1960s was the decade of Ethiopian dominance in the Olympic marathon. Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Rome marathon and the 1964 Tokyo marathon. Mamo Wolde, another truly legendary distance runner, captured the 1968 Olympic Gold medal in Mexico City. Thirty-two years later in Sydney Australia, Ethiopian Gezahegne Abera would become the 4th Ethiopian to win an Olympic Gold medal in the men's marathon.
France and the USA also had three gold medalists, going into the Sydney Olympics in 2000 ( France - 1900, 1928 and 1956; USA - 1904, 1908 and 1972).
    Your options: [ Eritrea ] [ Estonia ] [ England ] [ Ethiopia ]
  From Quiz: Crossing the Finish Line
The rest of the questions and answers can be found in our quizzes here:
Marathons Quizzes