"You go up there and you see the signs for Marathonus and it just really hits you," U.S. marathoner Dan Browne told me on the phone. "This is Marathon. They really had a battle here. This is where Pheidippides started out on his run.''
ATHENS, Greece -- The marathon takes its name from the legendary run by the messenger Pheidippides, who raced from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in the year 490 B.C. to announce the Athenian victory. At the end of the run, he shouted, "Rejoice we conquer!" and collapsed on the spot and died in the dirt, quite likely a victim of heat stroke, his body so dehydrated and his temperature rising so high that his organs simply shut down.
Pheidippides, hero of Ancient Greece, is the central figure in a story that was the inspiration for a modern sporting event, the marathon.
Or I could if only I could get off this park bench and walk the 10 steps to the bar. I may not be clinically dead like Pheidippides but that is just a technical distinction.
Phidippides, or Pheidippides, or just Phiddy to his friends, was a Greek herald during the first Persian invasion of Greece. Before the Battle of Marathon he had run from Athens to Sparta to get some of that Spartan manmeat on the frontlines of the upcoming battle. This is already significantly more impressive than the more famous run because the distance between Athens and Sparta is about 140 miles. He ran it in two days. 25 miles in an afternoon or 140 miles in two days, you decide.