"Run in a marathon" means running in an organized race. "Run a marathon" means the same, but can also maybe mean to simply run 26.2 miles on your own. Either way, the latter should be accepted, but my question is if any such distinction is made in Polish, with the inclusion of the preposition, or if you always have to use it.
I don't think it's very likely for someone to run 42,195 km outside of any organized event, but if so, I'd say "Nigdy nie przebiegłem maratonu" - treating 'maraton' as a distance, with no difference between 10, 20 or 42,195 km. 'Przebiec' implies 'running succesfully, running the whole distance' - which I haven't managed to do - probably didn't even try.
Ah, the perfective verbs. If there is one concept in this course that still baffles me, it's this. So by switching to "przebiegłem", you're saying that you've never completed the distance, rather than saying you've never participated in the event (which you could do, but stop short of the finish line). I guess that was the distinction I was trying to make. But how does "w" factor in? Is this just like other sports that you grać w [a sport]?
Yeah, "przebiegłem" implies that I managed to do it - so in our sentence, that will be that I never finished a marathon. "Biegłem" doesn't give us any information about my success - maybe I've won this marathon, or maybe I was taken to hospital after the 15th kilometer? But at least I took part in this organized event.
Therefore I guess that if you really ran this distance by yourself and not in any event, I'd say "Przebiegłem maraton" treating 'marathon' just as if it was a distance in kilometres - which is ambiguous, but at least allows the interpretation of 'no event'. Just like you'd say "Wczoraj przebiegłem trzy kilometry" about simple everyday training.
As for sports, I cannot even imagine not using 'w', it wouldn't make any grammatical sentence no matter which case you'd try to use. Not with playing - you play 'w coś'. In this particular sentence however, 'w' means, in my opinion, "in the event".
But with training, you do actually 'trenować coś' - trenować bieganie, trenować piłkę nożną, etc. - without a preposition.
Correct translation should be: I have never ran in a marathon. You don't say - 'I have never eat in a restaurant'. You say - 'I have never ate in a restaurant'. Same grammatical principle applies.
run (third-person singular simple present runs, present participle running, simple past ran, past participle run)
You use the past participle form in Present/Past Perfect, not the simple past form...
Of course you would use the past participle in most cases including these sentences: I have never run a marathon I have never eaten a cake I have never sang a song. I have never drunk a beer
What makes this sentence different is that it ends abruptly. The action of running is taking place IN A marathon with the emphasis on the noun rather than the verb. English people would use the simple past more frequently than the past participle when the stress is on the noun (although these sentences quite rare): I have never ran in a marathon I have never ate in a restaurant I have never sung in a band I have never froze in a freezer I have never drank in a pub.
If you extend the sentence any further then the sentence would be treated with the past particple.
I have never run in a marathon before I have never eaten a cake in this restaurant.
But simply 'I have never run in a marathon' sounds incorrect because it's almost like half a sentence. Most people would say 'I have never run a marathon' or 'I have never run in a marathon before'
The participle of "to run" is always "run" regardless of the length of the sentence or how it ends. Even when the emphasis is on the noun, the verb still has to be conjugated correctly, either using "I never ran" without the auxiliary "have" and with the simple past form "ran", or using the past perfect "I have never run" with the auxiliary "have" and the past participle form "run". See this full conjugation of the verb "to run".
By the book you are correct, but language, which is always changing by the way, is spoken. I'd be interested to run a survey on this because I reckon the majority of Brits and Americans would say 'I have never ran in a marathon' instead of 'I have never run in a marathon', It just sounds unnatural.