Pheidippides Feat I – Yiannis Kouros
Yannis Kouros is a legend and inspiration for ultra runners worldwide.
He’s the number one Ultra-Marathon runner, having broken more than 160 world records up to now.
When Yiannis was 51, he broke his own world record though, which he made 21 years earlier!
He ran the first Spartathlon (246K) from Athens to Sparta in 21h53’40” in 1983, improved it 1984 with 20h25’00”, and set a course record that still holds today.
The great historian of antiquity Herodotus (490 B.C.) described the details of the Battle of Marathon. He mentioned Pheidippides, an Athenian messenger (530 BC–490 BC), who was sent by his generals to Sparta, hoping to get military aid to reinforce the Athenian forces against the forthcoming Asiatic incursion. Herodotus wrote that Pheidippides ran 246K in 1,5 day to deliver his message in Sparta.
In 1982 four English men followed the route description of Herodotus to find out or this was possible for a human being. They indeed managed to finish within 36 hours.
The historical Spartathlon race was born and attracts every year UltraRunners from over the world since then.
Yiannis Kouros took a closer look at the history and discovered Pheidippides had run a different route than the Spartathlon course and also that he ran back to Athens again, and then on to Marathon. The current Athens Marathon still roughly follows the same route from Athens to Marathon.
To really run in the footsteps of Pheidippides, Yiannis organized and ran the “Pheidippides Feat” from Athens to Sparta and back, a total distance of 492K, non-stop. He completed the journey in 53 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds.
“It has been proven in the course of history that the action is beneficial to the health of body and mind. Whoever remains inactive, gradually fades away. We must run to preserve our heritage the sweat and heirlooms of our ancestors,” Yiannis wrote.
“What Pheidippides did, going to Sparta just for a message and bring back a message to the Athenian, I’d like to think of myself as a messenger. I want to inspire, to give the message that something is doable. Everything is possible as far as I am concerned as long as you go for it,” he said.
This original route of Pheidippides includes passing and returning from Mount Parthenion without night rest.
Yannis Kouros started Thursday, September 29, just after 6 pm for the Pheidippides Feat. He reached Sparta in the incredible time of 21:27 and immediately began the return to Athens where he arrived at Saturday midnight.
That same Fall Yiannis, at age 49, set four world records in the Cliff Young Six-Day Race, Australia, ran a total of 643 miles, breaking the course record and set new world record times for covering 500 km and 1000 km in his age group. and broke his own records that he had set in 1984.
“I’d like to think myself as a messenger.
I want to inspire, give the message that something is doable, it is not improbable…
everything is possible as far as I am concerned as long as you go for it.”
Copyrights image: Yiannis Kouros