Phiddipides Walked

Leave the first response January 26, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Running, Oz On Marathoning

© Austin “Ozzie” Gontang, Ph.D.

> Steven Lavallee ( wrote:

> : Is it true that Galloway advocates walking breaks every mile of the
> : marathon? What’s next, lawn chair breaks served with lemonade and back
> : rubs.

> : Get with the program folks, the marathon is run, not walked. Did
> : Phidipides (sp?) stroll to Athens with news of victory in the
> : battlefield?

> : If you cannot run the full distance, step aside and allow others who
> : put in the extra training and preparation to complete the task
> : properly, in the true spirit of the event. Steve LaVallee Langley, Canada

> I run with one of Jeff Galloway’s groups and yes, he advocates
> a one minute walking break per each 5 or 6 minutes of running. The
> program is mostly aimed at people who are running their first
> marathon and therefore it is very conservative. It does not
> prepare you to become competitive, but it has allowed many of us
> to experience the thrill of completing a marathon.>

> Yours is a very arrogant attitude. You know, some of us
> practice sports just for the fun of it (in the true spirit
> of the event, as well). If you were right, only olympians
> should be allowed to practice sports.
> By the way, Phiddipides dropped dead when he arrived to Athens,
> according to the legend. And there are no rules about having to
> run all the distance. You are and elite runner, you should know that!
> Diego R. Tamburini –

Sorry I missed the original post. The marathon for me is one of the last frontiers of personal discovery. In the true spirit of competition, “Competo” meaning “seeking with (others)” each of us run alone with hundreds or thousands of other runners.

Here’s a paragraph from N. Gardiner’s Athletics of the Ancient World, Oxford, 1930:

“We have no means of estimating the performances of Greek runners or comparing them with those of our own times. The Greeks kept no records. We hear of a runner who could outpace and catch hares, of another who raced a horse from Coronea to Thebes and beat it. Various feats of endurance are recorded. Herodotus tells us how Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta in two days, a distance of a hundred and fifty miles. It was the same Pheidippides who is said to have brought to Athens the news of the victory of Marathon, a story commemorated in the modern Marathon race which is of course a purely modern event unknown to the ancients. But all this is too vague to be of any value for comparison. Such scanty evidence suggests that the Greeks generally attained a high standard of running, especially in long distances.” p. 140

The gentleman who without legs, lifts himself the whole way, over 2 days, does not run. Linda (can’t remember her last name) with Cerebral Palsy who walked the distance on her canes. I remember seeing her finish in about 9 hours in London in ’85. Talk to the people of the Achilles Track Club. Talk to the thousands of walkers from Teams In Training. These and all walkers who have completed a marathon have found something within and without: “The Spirit of the Marathon.”

Each marathoner bear witness to the experience of covering a measured distance of 26.2 miles. From there it becomes the experience of each of us being called to be Athlete, Poet, Philosopher, Artist and Hero. You might call it the Marathon lifestyle. It’s that “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” The marathon is the metaphor that a lot of us use to challenge ourselves in becoming world class humans. You can’t talk about it, you do it.

It continues to amaze me that we pay endorsement fees of large amounts to the world class athletes. They often become bigger than life…forgetting that…especially in the marathon…their money comes from those other 98% of runners behind them who buy the products. There are others who have learned the spirit of the marathon. We’re all in it together and the winner says, “Today at this time and space, I was the fastest runner. And if someone didn’t come in second, third, fourth, fifth, nth…I wouldn’t have come in first. Without them I couldn’t have won this competition”

Leave the first response Subscribe via RSS

Join the discussion by leaving a comment...

How do I change my avatar?

Go to and upload your preferred avatar.

Please visit WP-Admin > Options > Snap Shots and enter the Snap Shots key. How to find your key