The victory gave Athenians a faith in their destiny which endured for three centuries, during which time western democracy was born. It is said that a defeat of the Athenians in this battle could have changed the tide of history.
Legend has it that a messenger called Pheidippides was asked to run from Marathon to Athens to report the victory. He ran the distance, announced “Nenikekamen (“We are victorious”), collapsed and died from exhaustion.
While this story has never been confirmed, Pheidippides was known as a career runner. Shortly before the battle at Marathon, he had covered 240km over two days to ask the Spartans for help. He had returned to advise the Greek army that Sparta would assist in nine days, after a religious festival.
Which possibly also makes him the world’s first ultra-marathon runner. The first organised marathon at the 1896 Olympics was won by Greek runner Spyridon Louis in 2:58:50. The route is still known as the authentic, or original course.
What became the official marathon distance (42.195km) was a result of the 1908 London Olympics when the course was extended by royal request to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to a new stadium at White City.
Athens Classic Marathon –
View a short video history of the Marathon:
Further historical information:
We’ve done some research on endurance and how to maintain that drive and passion that keep you going through a long or multifaceted race when you think you may be flagging.
Endurance is a very personal thing, but we hope that the tips we’ve put together below will help some of you when you feel you can’t go on any longer!
Set yourself a target, whether it’s during training or for the race itself. In fact you should try to live by your targets, they will help with your sense of achievement which is very important to build confidence. Developing targets during training will mean that they won’t come as a shock during the race. You should never try any new techniques in a race that you haven’t practiced in training sessions; both mental and physical.
Don't let your mind wander; focus on something, for example, your goal. Choose a physical point on the course to reach and then refocus on the next point of the course.
This breaks down the race into smaller, more manageable portions. You should also try focusing on your stride, your breathing and your technique. Set up a thought process that creates a routine or loop of the things you need to focus on. Use physical triggers to remind yourself of positive thoughts, eg a swig from the drink bottle, a look at the sky, anything that works for you.
Relax into the pain and try to enjoy the moment knowing that it will pass and of the end acheivement it will bring. Remember the pain is the same for everyone, it’s just how you handle it; and you can.
Think of your past achievements, these will give you confidence and the drive to continue. Remember how it feels and the adrenalin rush you get when you’ve finished the race. If this is your first race, think about how you felt when you first started training and how muh you’ve achieved since then. Think of all the people who’ve supported you and how good they’ve made you feel about yourself for doing this. On the flip side, think of the people who’ve annoyed you and don’t let them get you down, push forward and show them what you’re capable of.
Endurance is personal to you, it’s just a matter of finding the right triggers.