I'm stealing this, because it's just my kind of humor... here's the link (in an attempt to give RW their credit).
Marathon: A Race Report by Pheidippides09/09/2010 3:15 AM
A reader noted recently in the Comments section of an unrelated post that the 2,500th anniversary of Pheidippides' original "Marathon" run is happening, well, sometimeright around now. Probably. The actual date is hard to pin down.
As everyone knows,Pheidippides or Phidippides or "P. Dippy" (as he was briefly known) was the Greek who… um… ran 26 or 140 miles to Sparta or Athens or somewhere, and announced victory in the battle of Marathon or else asked for reinforcements or possibly something cold to drink and then dropped dead. Or didn't. Assuming that any version of this occurred at all, which it may not have.
Honestly, everything about this story is hard to pin down. It's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma shrouded in a toga. Google "Pheidippides Marathon" and you get 127,000 results, offering about 127,000 versions of the events in question, few of which even pretend to offer credible citations.
(Note: Watch for RW.com's own, authoritative Pheidippides FAQ, with expert info, coming soon.) (Seriously!)
Even on the official web site of the Athens Marathon, the retelling of Pheidippides' story is cast as "legend."
That's why I was so thrilled to discover the following ultra-rare bit of text, transcribed from a scroll unearthed in a dig near Athens — a race report from the man himself, documenting his historic run. Finally, we can hear the real story of Pheidippides, from Pheidippides.
WOW! That's all I can say. Praise the gods, I finished my Marathon run in one piece. Hooray! Some blisters on my left foot, but nothing major. Not sure if I'll do it again, but it definitely was a Life Experience. At least now I can cross that off my Grecian urn List. Plus, I've raised almost 500 drachmas for Persian Invasion Awareness. Awesome!
Anyway. I was soooooo excited last night, I could barely sleep. I laid out my sandals and my Team Victory Over Persia tunic (see right; no, I didn't run with the sword!), and set my clepsydra for first sun. My room was okay, but a little Spartan.
I had that dream again, where I'm running like crazy but barely moving and while I'm doing that, Persians are raping our women and burning our crops. Don't you hate that dream?
Woke up to nice weather, apart from the stench of death wafting from the battlefield. As I stretched and checked my sandals, Aeschylus walked by. He gave me one final fist bump and a "Go With Zeus," and I was off.
First bit: Felt pretty good. Still kind of just warming up at this point.
Middle stretch: Terrain got a bit rough, with some hills I could have done without.
Noon: A goatherd shouted at me to "Get out of the middle of the rough terrain!" Jerk. At least I'm out here getting fit, and not sitting on my ἀςς watching goats all day.
Final bit: Where… is… Athens?!? Argh! And then, I saw it. Somehow I managed a final burst of speed into the city, just barely beating another man through the gates. My time was either 5 hours or 6 or perhaps 8. (Am I the only one who can't figure out these stupid sun dial things?) After a long drink of water and announcing Greek victory at the battle of Marathon, all I wanted to do was collapse.
And so I did.