the spring of 490 BC the Athenians sent Phidippides
as a messenger to Sparta, to ask for help in the battle
against the Persians at Marathon. According to Herodotus,
Phidippides arrived in Sparta "the day after he
had left Athens". This was the height of human
and a half thousand years later, in October 1982, John
Fonden, British scholar of ancient history and long
distance runner, arrived in Athens with some of his
colleagues who were also long distance runners. They
ran in Phidippides footsteps and proved Herodotus claim
when all three reached the statue of Leonidas in Sparta
within 36-39 hours!
year 1984 saw the founding of the International Spartathlon
Association, which organises the Spartathlon race every
year towards the end of September. The most eminent
long distance runners from all over the world take part.
1984 Yannis Kouros was first over the finish line with
a time of 20 hours and 25 minutes - the fastest time
to date. Costas Michalopoulos from Laconia ran in the
race too and also completed the distance.
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