Marathons were invented by people who needed something new to brag about on the back of their cars.
After a while, talking about your honor student and how much you love your dog just doesn’t cut it anymore. So somebody decided that running 26 miles without dying was worth bragging about and invented stickers for that, too.
The marathon is a race that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit and also sheer idiocy. People will train for months in order to accomplish this absurd feat, dedicating that much time of their lives to jogging in a large elaborate circle.
The race gets its namesake from a battle the Ancient Greeks took part in. Many stories from Ancient Greece are mythological, filled with grandiose failures that the Greeks decided to celebrate. This story, however, appears to be entirely true, which makes the fact that the Greeks celebrated it even more impressive.
Pheidippides was a herald for the city of Athens. Back then, Greek cities ruled themselves and really only had a sort of alliance with other cities, which proved to be a great government system just so long as you never want to get any other city to help you out with anything.
The city of Athens was at war with the nation of Persia, who, if you know anything about history, was at war with everyone. When the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece, Pheidippides was tasked with the responsibility of running to Sparta, another Greek city, to get help. The only thing is, Sparta was 150 miles away, so Pheidippides had to start booking it.
Ol’ Pheidippides accomplished this task in a mere two days, which you would think earned him some vacation time. However, Athens apparently only had one messenger. Once Greek forces pushed back the mighty Persian army, they were so excited that they asked him to run back to Athens to spread the word.
So he ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the good news. 25 miles straight. He arrived, yelled, “Nenikékamen”, which means “We have won,” and then DIED.
Thus, the modern marathon race is to honor this action. That’s right, people willingly put themselves through the same thing that actually KILLED somebody. The marathon race is roughly the same as having an Electric Chair Endurance Competition.
The term “marathon” has become commonplace in our vernacular. Basically, if something is very long and tedious, it is a marathon. Same goes for showing many, many episodes of the same show being broadcast in a row. Basically, if something takes up far too much time of your life, it is a marathon.
But one must remember the root of the word. A marathon isn’t just something that takes place over an extended period of time. It’s a test of endurance. Of the human spirit. And also probably a test seeing just how far you need to go in order to just straight up die.
So run hard, like Pheidippides. Just try not to die hard, also like Pheidippides.