In 490 BC, a group of 7:1 outnumbered Greeks defeated the invading Persians on the fields of Marathon. Legend has it that a soldier named Phidippides ran 24.85 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the shocking victory. His heroic effort was memorialized in 1896 when the first modern Olympics, held in Athens, recreated the run officially dubbed the Marathon. During the 1908 London Olympics, the British changed the course to 26.2 miles.
2500 years after the original Marathon, my mission is to complete the same legendary route. Had the Greeks not stymied the Persians from conquering the mainland, the glory of ancient Greece as the cradle of Western Civilization might never have come to pass. The 2010 Athens Classic Marathon offers an occasion to honor the roots of a culture whose accomplishments continue to inspire greatness in each of us today.