Back in 1973, the Mars candy company unveiled a new and sizable confection. The Marathon bar, packaged in a bright-red wrapper, was an instant hit and stayed in the candy aisle for the rest of the decade. Today, they reside in the extinct foods graveyard, but memories of this chewy treat remain in the minds of any former 70s kid.

The Marathon bar consisted of caramel braided into a pretzel shape, then dipped in milk chocolate. With a respectable length of eight inches, and a colorful red wrapper, they were impossible to miss on store shelves.


For a short time, a larger, fifteen-inch version was even available in limited locations. And just in case you questioned the girth of the Marathon bar, a ruler was printed on every package, proving their dominance over the competition.

A series of memorable commercials were produced in the 70s, featuring “Marathon John” and his nemesis “Quick Claude”, a villain who could do everything fast … except eat a Marathon Bar. The character of “Marathon John” was none other than Patrick Wayne, the real-life son of iconic cowboy, John Wayne.


Sadly, when the 70s came to a close, so did the popularity of the Marathon bar. By 1981, the once-popular confection disappeared completed from the candy aisle, leaving a wake of distraught fans.

While Marathon has yet to return, despite their protests, there is a similar candy bar manufactured in Great Britain called the Curly Wurly. While it mimics the shape of its predecessor, they don’t taste exactly the same, although they are close. If you are longing for a Marathon bar, this is about the best you are going to do until someone with a brain brings back this beloved treat.

Meanwhile, if you have fond memories of eating these 70s candy bars, I hope you will share your Marathon memories with us in our comments section below.

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13 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Must have MARATHON CANDY BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Scott Braunstein says:

    50 years old now, but………….I was 10 when they came out. I would die for one.

  3. LD says:

    I was born and raised on the Island and remember the braided Marathon bar quite well, when I would mention to people the marathon bar they would disagree with me that it was a braid, the reason why is another, average candy bar was called the marathon bar for a time. when I moved to Florida, I discovered the curly whirly at a store located in the british pavilion in Epcot center WDW. Those are made by Cadbury and you are right, they certainly don’t taste exactly like the excellent Mars Marathon bar.

  4. Brian Mcneill says:

    well curly wurlys have been made in the uk since the 1950’s and Snickers bars used to be called marathons here

  5. Michael Phillips says:

    The new candy bar in the world I wish it could come back

  6. Monica says:

    I could not remember it’s name, so you solved it for me! Thank you. All I could remember is that it was a braided milk chocolate covered caramel bar, and how delicious it was. Sad it’s. not around 🙁

  7. Melissa Padgett says:

    I loved loved loved the Marathon bar!!! I was born in 1970 but our Mr. Wiggs store in Fort Wayne, Indiana used to carry them and i would always get one when we went!!! They are not hard to make so please Mars company bring back the Marathon bar even if its just for a short time!!!!! Please

  8. Michelle Estabrook says:

    I grew up in western Massachusetts and the Marathon bar was my favorite!! I was born in the early 70’s it wasn’t very long between when I was old enough to eat them and when they disappeared but, I never forgot them. Not many people I know remember them and think I’m crazy when I talk about them. I was so happy to find this sight and prove myself right!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I remember walking down to the little store on the corner and getting my marathon bar. Loved them! Then th

  10. John says:

    I only found and bought the 15″ Marathon bars in Chicago–no 8″ bars. In his book Candyfreak (and a MPR radio interview with Angela Davis: see website), author Steve Almond says there were only 8″ bars, and they only seemed bigger “because our hands grew”. Not true! Thank you for recalling the regional test marketing.

  11. Tammy says:

    Please bring back my most favorite candy bar!!!!!!!please sir can I have more

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