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!
– Robert Browning (1879)
Cheers to Philippides, who ran like fire, to announce the good news of victory, from the Battlefield of Marathon to his masters at Sparta….never stopped to rest his feet, never paused to smell the roses or fennel, never even stopped for a sip of wine….but ran and ran…and duty discharged…he promptly collapsed and died.
χαλάζι νικῶμεν – Αντίο
Hail, We are the winners – GOODBYE.
And how does history recognise him?
Well, the historians still debate about whether his name was Pheidippides or Philippides, and the fine gentlemen who founded the Olympic Games named a race inspired by him after the battlefield rather than the runner.
So a few conflicted mentions in history and mythology and a poem by dear dear Robert Browning?!
No Sir, I am most certainly not running any marathons.
Thank you. I’ll sit this one out.
I could probably be tempted to join a couch-marathon or a dream-marathon. The end result will be the same. Philippides met a premature death due to over-exhaustion, I’ll meet a premature death due to under-exhaustion, but at least I would have enjoyed the journey.
The Greeks can keep Pan, I shall keep the Pancakes…and all other gastronomical indulgences 😉