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Marathon, the second-largest town in Brewster County, is located on the Southern Pacific Railroad at the intersection of US 90 and US 385, twenty-six miles southeast of Alpine.

Early on, Marathon was the principal shipping point for most Brewster County ranchers because its location in the relatively flat Marathon basin was more accessible to cattle than Alpine. It also served the mining operations at Boquillas. In addition, in the early twentieth century, Marathon became the center of the guayule rubber industry.

In 1990 the Bailey Fluorspar Company was the only industry operating in Marathon. The town was still a center of the local ranching industry, however, thanks to its location on the Southern Pacific. Marathon is also the principal gateway to Big Bend National Park, thirty-six miles south, for tourists coming from the north on US 385 or from the east on US 90.

The population was 800 in 1990.

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