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The traditional story relates that Pheidippides (530 BC-490 BC), an Athenian herald, was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. He ran 240 km (150 mi) in two days. He then ran the 40 kms from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the word "nikomen" meaning we have won to then collapse and die.
-An Excerpt from Robert Browning's Poem on Pheidippides
So, when Persia was dust, all cried, "To Acropolis!
Run, Pheidippides, one race more! The meed is thy due!
Athens is saved, thank Pan, go shout!" He flung down his shield
Ran like fire once more: and the space 'twixt the fennel-field
And Athens was stubble again, a field which a fire runs through,
Till in he broke: "Rejoice, we conquer!" Like wine through clay,
Joy in his blood bursting his heart, - the bliss!
It was this poem which inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin and other founders of the modern Olympic Games to invent a running race of 42 km called the Marathon.
Since time immemorial the Marathon is organized for a cause and to celebrate the human spirit & its endurance. Prominent cities across the globe celebrate the spirit of their city by organizing the Marathon. Citizens of each city where this amazing race is held, come together on race day to celebrate their city, spirit and culture. The cause unites the city and brings people together in their effort to support causes that they hold dear.