According to The Book of Bizarre Truth, our current marathon is descended from a legend about the most famous runner in ancient Greece, a soldier named Philippides. For much of the fifth century B.C., the Greeks were at odds with the neighboring Persian Empire. In 490 B.C., the mighty Persians, led by Darius I, attacked the Greeks at the city of Marathon. Despite being badly outnumbered, the Greeks managed to fend off the Persian troops.
After the victory, the legend holds, Philippides ran in full armor from Marathon to Athens – about 25 miles – to announce the good news. After several hours of running through the rugged Greek countryside, he arrived at the gates of Athens crying, “Rejoice, we conquer!” as Athenians rejoined.
Philippides then fell over dead. Despite a great deal of debate about the accuracy of this story, the legend still held such sway in the Greek popular mind that when the modern Olympic Games were revived in Athens in 1896, a long – distance running event known as a marathon was instituted.
In the first two Olympic Games, the Philippides distance was indeed used as the marathon distance. But things changed in 1908, when the Olympic Games were held in London. The British Olympic committee determined the marathon route would start at Windsor Castle and end at the royal box in front of London’s newly built Olympic Stadium, a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards.
The 26.2 somehow got ingrained in the sporting psyche. By the 1924 Olympics in Paris, this arbitrary distance became the standard for all marathons.
Famous Okie information: Guthrie, Okla., has the nation’s only museum devoted to the collection of lighters. At the National Lighter Museum, nearly 20,000 lighters and “fire starters” are displayed.
Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: Strive to make your bed every morning. Making your bed helps you accomplish something first thing in the morning and thus starts your day with success.
Made me laugh: I think he’s one fry short of a Happy Meal.
You might want to sign up for the Gobbler Gallop that happens early on Thanksgiving morning, a run sponsored by the Texas County YMCA. All runners are welcome.
See you on the bricks, soon! Stay safe.