While Pheidippides is best known for having inspired the modern marathon, his running heroics are also replicated each year at the Spartathlon. Pheidippides (5th century bc), Athenian messenger, who was sent to Sparta to ask for help after the Persian landing at Marathon in 490 and is said to have covered the 250 km (150 miles) in two days on foot. When the Persian fleet arrived, the Athenian army was there to meet them. Military history generally from Chapter 1 of Jim Lacey and Williamson Murray. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Join the Supporters Club today for exclusive content, discounts, and forum features. The major exception is that of the “standard marathon”, an apparently arbitrary, but precise, distance of 26 miles 385 yards (42.195km). Runners crave the challenge of a marathon. There 2,500 years ago 10,000 Athenians stood alone against invading Persian hordes. Pheidippides' famous feat may have inspired the modern marathon, but there is a different origin to the race's distance. This was the distance used for the marathon in 1900 and 1904, but at the Games in London in 1908 the originally planned course was lengthened to accommodate the British Royal Family. Map by United States Military Academy Department of History. In the past that meant the half mile, one mile and three miles on the track and five, eight and 10 miles on the road. The Marathon Man. CAPE TOWN - Most race distances in athletics are set on the basis of round numbers. That's the way it happened, 2500 years ago.Note that there is no mention in 'Histories' of a messenger by ANY name being sent to Athens from Marathon after the Battle.-----------------------300 BC The philosopher Pontikos said that Thersippus, a soldier made the trek from Marathon in full armor and died after announcing victory.600 years after the Battle of Marathon:100 AD Plutarch wrote in 'Moralia' that it was Eukles made the 25 mile run from Marathon to Athens.150 AD Finally, satirist Lucianus (basically the Dave Barry of the day) said that Pheidippides made the run from Athens to Marathon. The Athenians couldn't wait, and even though badly outnumbered, they still opened up an urn of whoop-ass on the Persian Army. Luc-Olivier Merson, Le Soldat de Marathon (1869). It was a stunning victory – but neither the battle nor the running ceased there. In a nod to Greek history, the first marathon commemorated the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to … Most marathoners have an idea that this somewhat arbitrary distance is equal to that allegedly run by a Greek warrior in ancient history, but this is only partly true. The trip would take the boats between eight to 10 hours. It is not certain that Pheidippides was the runner, the exact route is not known and why would a 25 mile run kill a trained specialist? He arrived in Athens, delivered his message and died of exhaustion. In return for the Athenian’s renewed respect towards him, Pan fought alongside them and, despite them being hopelessly outnumbered, helped them to drive back the Persians to their ships. It was won by local soldier, Louis Spiridon, in 2hr 58min 50sec, an effort which earned him fame and apparently some fortune. Bacchanals were the Grecian equivalent of tailgating. The story (the common one in which he ran 25 miles from marathon to athens and the true story where he ran 140 miles from marathon to sparta and back), Pheidippides is said to have ran those entire distances. Marathons have become a successful means of raising money for various children’s organizations, as well as cancer organizations and other very beneficial groups. The story is that Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the Windsor Castle lawns visible from the Castle Nursery so the youngest royals could watch the start. The ‘Men of Marathon’ were heralded as heroes, as much for their running as their fighting, and the tale of Pheidippides came to symbolise the greatness of soldiers and the role of the deities. A fitting tribute, then, to Pheidippides: the world’s first true running hero. To receive future issues, please add your name to the subscription list. Pheidippides, in his time, had no idea he would have such a large impact on people today. If you re-read Histories you'll find that Pheidippides was nowhere near Marathon at the time. did not appear until the second century A.D. appeared in Plutarch’s 347 A.D. work “Moralia,”, On This Day: Richard Nixon Delivers “Checkers Speech”, On This Day: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Die. 2:56:30, he was aiming for a Boston qualifier. Most Greeks submitted to Persian demands, but Athens and Sparta refused. The Athenians marched directly at the core of the massed Persian forces, advancing ever faster as they neared until they sprinted the last 200 yards. But Pheidippides is believed to have run between 35 and 40km (after running a far more gruelling 240km in two days prior to that feat) and the first (male only) modern Olympic marathon was raced over 40km. Home > Just for Fun > Musings > First Marathon. Some suggest this was Pheidippides’ cue to start running again: this time from Marathon to Athens to warn the Athenians that the Persian fleet was on its way. And, despite still being stronger in number, the Persians decided better of it and turned their ships around. won / wən; wän/ ) [tr.] The Persians weren’t expecting such an assault: their formations were hastily assembled and their archers misgauged their targets. The distance was 40 km (24.85 miles).6, Today marathons are slightly longer, 26 miles 385 yards to be exact.

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