Who Was Phidippides?
Phidippides was a Master when he performed his historic runs. According to chronicles Phidippides was sent to Sparta by Athenian officials when they were threatened by Persians landing at Marathon. The trip was 150 miles which he ran in 2 days. The Spartans were celebrating a festival and could not come until the full moon, several days later, whereupon Phidippides retraced his steps in 2 more days. He then fought a battle with the rest of the Athenians routing the Persians. The Persians retreated to their ships and set sail for Athens, which caused the Athenians to send Phidippides from the battlefield to Athens, a distance of 26 miles. He reached Athens, pronounced Nenikekamen (‘We have won’ or ‘We are victorious’) and promptly died. Robert Browning commemorated this story in his 1879 poem Pheidippides. The poem inspired Baron Pierre de Coubertin and other founders of the modern Olympic games to invent a running race of 42 kilometers called the marathon.