I Pheidippides fotspor (1)

Et rekordforsøk

September 2021 løp jeg og Magnus Thorud Spartathlon ULTRA race. Dette er et av verdens mest ikoniske ultraløp. Et 246 kilometer langt løp fra Athen til Sparta som følger i fotsporene til Pheidippides (budbringeren som i år 490 f.Kr ble sendt fra Athen til Sparta for å be om hjelp i forbindelse med angrepet fra perserne). Dette er et løp man aldri blir ferdig med. Et beist. Et liv. Vi måtte tilbake.

Sammen med Jeanette Vika, også en tidligere Spartathlon “finisher”, har vi i sommer planlagt å ikke bare løpe fra Athen til Sparta, men også følge i Pheidippides fotspor helt til Marathon og tilbake til Athen. Vi planlegger å sette en unsupported FKT på strekningen Athen — Sparta — Athen — Marathon — Athen. (Unsupported betyr at vi løper med sekk på ryggen og uten noen form for ekstern support. Ingen følgebil, og ingen som gir oss drikke eller næring. Vi spiser på restauranter / kiosker langs løypa og vi sover der vi kan sove. FKT står for “fastest known time”, og betyr at vi ønsker å sette den raskeste kjente tiden på distansen.)

Dette er en distanse på i underkant av 600 kilometer. Vi starter 4. juli 2022. Løper med en tracker / sender hver, og det vil være mulig å kunne følge oss via en nettside (tilsvarende som da jeg løp Norge På Langs). Dette blir et fantastisk eventyr ispedd utallige utfordringer. Ekstrem varme, farlige løsbikkjer, tung sekk, og tung trafikk. Målet er å fullføre under fem dager.

Undertegnende (Simen) fra fjorårets løp ved passering etter 80 kilometer. (Foto: Sparta Photography Club)
Jeanette Vika, med nummer 357, fra Spartathlon i 2019. Ninette Banoun med nummer 111 til høyre. (Foto: Johan Holmgren)
Magnus Thorud i godt driv på Sparthathlon 2021. (Foto: Sparta Photography Club)

Spartathlon double?

Noen uker etter at røyken fra Spartathlon hadde lagt seg, la jeg ut følgende melding på en diskusjonsside for Spartathlon “nerder”: What is the current double Spartathlon record?

Mark: Not sure there is one within the 36/36 time limit

James: I don’t think there is a double Spartathlon one. Closest would be the FKT for the Authentic Pheidippides Run which takes place in November. Looks like 69 hours 22 mins

Jean: Or Phidippides himself or Yiannis Kouros. Has never been ratified.

Mimi: I did the double in 2015 doing the race first with the aim of doing the return journey in the 36 he time limit which I didn’t manage (would have to look up time) it’s very weird doing the return run!

Jari: Yiannis Kouros ran Athens — Sparta — Athens as a solo effort September 2005 in 53 hours 43 minutes. If my memory serves his route wasn’t exactly the same as an official Spartahtlon course. According to some web sources his time in Athens was 21h 27min! Making the return a bit over 32 hours.

Ektoras: Kouros also did it as a race 2011 with finish time 61.24 at Sparta was 24.15 !!

Pheidippides fotspor?

Simen: Sorry for messing about all this; but what about the official route? Any known FKT’s for Athens — Sparta — Athens — Marathon — Athens?

Bob: Why go to Marathon and back? There’s no reason to think Pheidippides did.

Simen: Thought the story was so that he also did Athens — Marathon (or the other way around) and then died… So you are saying the he “only” did Athens — Sparta — Athens?

Bob: The Marathon story dates from centuries later, and originally appeared with a different runner than Pheidippides.

Ilias: Indeed it was a different dayrunner who went from Marathon to Athens but it was not centuries later but only a few days.

Bob: What I meant was that the first mention of this run appears centuries later.

Thomas: Bob is correct. The run to Sparta was reported by historian Herodotus, a few years after the Persian wars, told from eyewitness accounts. The marathon story was first told by Plutarch, over 500 years later, and is almost certainly a myth.

Barney: I seem to recall Herodotus saying he went to Marathon where he updated the Athenians on the Spartan feasting — at which point Miltiadis decided to attack immediately. He then fought in the battle.

Bob: Herodotus definitely said nothing about Pheidippides going to Marathon.

Barney: Just went to get my Herodotus xlation looking for a clear line that Pheidippides returned to Athens from whence he set out. There is none. It only mentions the Athenians — is that the citizens still in Athens or those a bit closer to the flashpoint in Marathon? I don’t know. Perhaps it is clearer in the original Greek. Obviously Herodotus only gives us a few lines on Pheidippides…it is natural to theorise (rather than make assumptions) about the whys and wherefores of an event that took place 2,500 + years ago.

Bob: One note about your Herodotus excerpt. You note that according to Herodotus, his name was Philippides, not Pheidippides. However my translation says that this varies based on which copy of Herodotus one consults; both versions of the name appear. Unfortunately there is no one single authoritative version of Herodotus.

Huge: Interesting. I’ve seen a video with the philippides name being said as well. Certainly I mostly hear Pheidippides. I can’t remember which University I got the translation from.

Bob: “The first known written account of a run from Marathon to Athens occurs in the works of the Greek writer Plutarch (46–120 AD), in his essay “On the Glory of Athens”. Plutarch attributes the run to a herald called either Thersippus or Eukles. Lucian, a century later, credits one “Philippides”. It seems likely that in the 500 years between Herodotus’s time and Plutarch’s, the story of Pheidippides had become muddled with that of the Battle of Marathon (in particular with the story of the Athenian forces making the march from Marathon to Athens in order to intercept the Persian ships headed there), and some fanciful writer had invented the story of the run from Marathon to Athens.”


Simen: That’s true, but I see now that I have mixed this all up. I kind of liked the scene of him doing the double Spartathlon then double Marathon and then whisper “Nike!” and then dying on the floor.

Fastest known time?

All information about the run of Maria Polyzou was given to ‘DROMEA’ by the block of Panagiotis Skoulis who followed her throughout. I do not think there is an electronic file with GPS, but you can talk to her on Facebook (I do not know her personally).

According to historical sources, Pheidippides’ mission ended by delivering the message of the Spartans and Panas to Miltiades and the Athenians. It is very likely that Pheidippides went to Marathon to fight next to his compatriots, it is very likely that he ran back to Athens to defend the beach or had another mission, but these are speculations.



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