About this Tour
The legends of the marathon is an unconventional tour from Marathon to Athens inspired by the legendary tales of the Athenian hoplites, an anti-war activist, a wealthy Greek businessman, and a water carrier.
This is a self-guided mobile tour provided by our tour-guide app. The tour is based on an award-winning storytelling concept and the fascinating narratives prepared by handpicked destination experts. Enjoy this multilingual tour by using your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet at your own pace, even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step by step to explore all the points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of signature stories, allowing you to tailor this experience to your personal interests and schedule.
The tour begins at the starting line of the marathon race in Marathon. Most contemporary runners go through months of vigorous training before attempting to run the 42 kilometers that separate Marathon from Athens. But in 1896 Spyros Louis, an unknown water carrier from a suburb of Athens, won the marathon after a rudimentary preparation that included praying the whole night before the race. When he entered the stadium the crowd went wild with excitement. The princes entered the track to accompany him while King George enthusiastically waved his naval hat in salute. The unexpected triumph of a Greek runner created a sensation that lasted for years.
The marathon is the brainchild of the French intellectual Michel Bréal. This race did not exist in antiquity but he drew inspiration from the legend of Pheidippides, the runner who announced the Athenian victory in Marathon. Ancient Greeks were not overly fond of long races (“Nothing in excess” was a well-known inscription at the temple of Apollo in Delphi) and yet it seems there were numerous runners who completed amazing feats of endurance...and then collapsed.
The stories of The legends of the marathon span millennia. They include the captivating efforts of Grigoris Lambrakis, a well-respected politician deeply involved in the anti-war movement of the 1960s, who attempted to walk from Marathon to Athens in the service of world nuclear disarmament only to be arrested and manhandled by the police. They shed light on the generous and charitable contributions of Georgios Averoff, a wealthy expatriate Greek from Alexandria, Egypt, who financed the reconstruction of the Panathenaic Stadium in Pentelic marble, the stone used for the Parthenon. And, of course, we cannot fail to mention the elephant in the room, the giant green glass Runner which announces to all marathon runners that the end of the race is near.
To take this self-guided tour you will need the app on your iOS or Android device.
- Visit to the burial mound of the 192 Athenians who died defending their city against the invading Persians at Marathon.
- Understand the meaning of the Greek expression “nothing is more permanent than what is meant to be temporary” before a giant green glass Runner.
- Explore the magnificent Panathenaic Stadium, birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.