If one had to nominate the "worst modern Olympics" ever, 1900 would likely lead the voting. There were no opening or closing ceremonies and more athletes than spectators. The croquet event was a particular "hit", with just a single paying spectator attending the tournament.
According to legend, Pheidippides ran from the Greek City of Marathon all the way to Athens in order to deliver news of an Athenian victory in their battle against the Persians, thereby inspiring the long-distance race. However, the current distance wasn't standardized until the 1908 London Olympics. The course was laid out from Windsor Castle to White City stadium, about 26 miles. However, to locate the finish line in front of the royal family's viewing box, an extra 385 yards was added inside the stadium.