"a tale, a story, a connected account of the particulars of an event or series of incidents," 1560s, from French narrative and from narrative (adj.).
1836, "owner of a ranch, person engaged in ranching;" see ranch (n.). Meaning "modern single-story house" is attested by 1955.
1896, marathon race, from story of Greek hero Pheidippides, who in 490 B.C.E. ran to Athens from the Plains of Marathon to tell of the allied Greek victory there over Persian army. The original story (Herodotus) is that he ran from Athens to Sparta to seek aid, which arrived too late to participate in the battle.
It was introduced as an athletic event in the 1896 revival of the Olympic Games, based on a later, less likely story, that Pheidippides ran to Athens from the battlefield with news of the victory. The word quickly was extended to mean "any very long event or activity." The place name is literally "fennel-field." Related: Marathoner (by 1912); Marathonian.
1709, "ancient Scandinavian legend of considerable length," an antiquarians' revival to describe the medieval prose narratives of Iceland and Norway, from Old Norse saga "saga, story," cognate with Old English sagu "a saying" (see saw (n.2)).
Properly a long narrative composition of Iceland or Norway in the Middle Ages featuring heroic adventure and fantastic journeys, or one that has their characteristics. The extended meaning "long, convoluted story" is by 1857.