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When you think about the marathon you may think about the runner´s race, but do you know its origin? The name marathon came from the classical Greece. It all started with the Persian War in the fifth century B.C.Under the rule of Xerxes the Persians invaded the Greek Peninsula in the state of Athens. The major battles were fought in Plataea, Salamis, Thermopylae and Marathon. The Greeks defeated the Persians in the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.); however they needed to inform the victory to the city of Athens. The Greeks sent a professional long distance runner named Pheidippides to give Athens the message. They would have sent the messenger on horseback, but the path of the mountains made it difficult to travel on horse. He ran 26 miles (41.8km) from Marathon to Athens, and with his last breath he announced the victory saying "Νενικήκαμεν" (we have won). Pheidippides died from exhaustion. Ironically he had run 250km (from Sparta to Athens) in only two days and Pheidippides was still alive. The Greeks honored Pheidippides by introducing the marathon to the Olympic Games. Today’s marathons are being held in honor of Pheidippides.
Pheidippides Athens-Marathon Map
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