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Boston Marathon
Central Street
Wellesley, Massachusetts
United States
Posted Apr 25, 2007
Photo by Robert Kendall

This colorful flow of humanity marks the 111th running of the annual Boston Marathon. The race honors the legendary Pheidippides, who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news of a great Greek victory over an invading Persians army. Since this run is first discussed by historians writing about 600 years after the event, and is not mentioned in contemporaneous accounts of the war, the tradition rests on rather slippery pavement. Historically more credible is a run by one Philippides from Athens to Sparta to enlist Spartan allies against the invasion. The ancient route from Marathon to Athens would have measured either 21.4 miles or 25.4 miles, depending on the route taken. The distance of the modern marathon varied each year until it was set at 26.22 miles in 1921.

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