Marathon derives from the historical route of Pheidippides, an Athenian journeyman messenger and soldier, who, after the battle between the Greeks and Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, ran from the battlefield to Athens to announce the victorious news using the word “Nenikikamen”. According to history, Pheidippides, having run a route of about 42 km. without interruption, as soon as he reached the Assembly of the Parliament and exclaimed the winning phrase he collapsed and died.
The Birth of the Marathon
The “marathon road” as a sport has not existed since ancient times, but appeared at the end of the 19th century, when the founders and organizers of the modern Olympic Games sought to include an event reminiscent of ancient Greek glory. It is said that when Michel Breal, one of the organizers, proposed for the race to follow the same route that Pheidippides traveled, he did not know that the distance was about 40 km. Learning this he wanted to reduce the distance, but it was too late as it had already been included in the official program of the games and had been sent to several countries. Thus, in 1896, as part of the first Modern Olympic Games that took place in Athens, the first Marathon Race was held, the winner of which was Spyros Louis, a Greek water carrier.
Today there are more than 800 marathon races a year around the world. This competition has been associated with charity, since in the vast majority of marathons that are held, mainly amateurs participate for good causes.