Pheidippides Feat II- Yiannis Kouros
The flame that burned inside the ancient Athenian message runner Pheidippides, calling Spartans for help to conquer the Persians in the Battle of the Marathon, burns also inside Yiannis.
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 ran and won the Spartathlon four times, with still the four fastest finishes ever.
But then he took a closer look at the history and discovered Pheidippides had run a different route than the Spartathlon course.
To really run in the footsteps of Pheidippides, Yiannis organized and ran the “Pheidippides Feat” in 2005 (53h 43m) non-stop.
This original route of Pheidippides includes passing and returning from Mount Parthenion without night rest, from Athens to Sparta, back to Athens and then on to Marathon.
Yiannis repeated Pheidippides Feat Athens – Sparta – Athens on September 27, 2011 to celebrate his 40 years of running as well as the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. This time he completed the 492K route in 61h 24:21.
Yiannis ran to honor this heroic messenger whose performance in 490 B.C. helped save Greece and Western civilization, but mostly “because Greece is in danger. It is at risk like 2,500 thousand years ago. Then territorially and at risk of national extinction, now economically but with similar risks.”
This time it took Yiannis 61 hours, 24 minutes and 21 seconds to complete the challenge.
He started from the Sanctuary of Panos and returned from Sparta to Athens “carrying the message of the eternal Greek soul” as Yiannis Kouros described it.
“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.”
Copyrights image: Yiannis Kouros