The first Games held under the auspices of the IOC was hosted in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in 1896. The Games brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events.  Zappas and his cousin Konstantinos Zappas had left the Greek government a trust to fund future Olympic Games. This trust was used to help finance the 1896 Games.    George Averoff contributed generously for the refurbishment of the stadium in preparation for the Games.  The Greek government also provided funding, which was expected to be recouped through the sale of tickets and from the sale of the first Olympic commemorative stamp set. 
The Midnight Sun Marathon is held in Tromsø, Norway at 70 degrees north . Using unofficial and temporary courses, measured by GPS, races of marathon distance are now held at the North Pole , in Antarctica and over desert terrain. Other unusual marathons include the Great Wall Marathon on The Great Wall of China , the Big Five Marathon among the safari wildlife of South Africa, the Great Tibetan Marathon – a marathon in an atmosphere of Tibetan Buddhism at an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,500 ft), and the Polar Circle Marathon on the permanent ice cap of Greenland .