You are 42 km from Athens, of course! The walk from Athens to Marathon would be difficult to do in less than two hours running, as the record has not yet been broken at the Olympic Games. It is however quite pleasant in the car and easy to spot: the line that symbolizes Phidippides' race is clearly visible on the ground, in blue, sometimes on the road, sometimes in the fields. Marathon is not very touristy, but its historical sights are rather amusing. You can combine archaeology and relaxation by going swimming in Schinias, the beach of Marathon, overcrowded on summer weekends but pleasant during the week and out of season.
A little reminder: in 490 B.C., the Persian fleet, moored in the Gulf of Marathon, sent 20,000 men to conquer Athens. 9,000 Athenian hoplites (warriors) and 1,000 Plataeans settled on the slopes of Mount Agrilíki and for seven days the adversaries watched each other, withdrawn to their positions. The Athenian general Miltiade knew how to choose the right moment to launch the attack: the Persian army was annihilated, leaving, according to Herodotus, 6,400 dead. The Athenians mourned only 192 victims, in honour of whom they erected a 9 m high mound, which can still be admired today. The messenger Philippides, sent by Miltiade to announce the good news in Athens, ran without stopping for a single moment and could only stutter his message before dying of exhaustion. This unfortunate event inspired the Olympic marathon, which covers a distance equal to the distance between Athens and Marathon, 42.195 km.
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