Marathon tour: The Legends

Marathon, Greece

Clio Muse












The Legends of the Marathon Tour is an unconventional self-guided audio tour inspired by the legendary tales and achievements of  Athenian hoplites. Discover credible and original stories written by top local professionals after extended research. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.

An anti-war activist, a wealthy Greek businessman and philanthropist, and a water carrier whose fabled win at the first marathon race of modern times inspired a nation.

The tour begins at the starting line of the marathon race in Marathon. Most contemporary runners go through months of vigorous training before attempting to run the 42 kilometers that separate Marathon from Athens. But in 1896 Spyros Louis, an unknown water carrier from a suburb of Athens, won the marathon after a rudimentary preparation that included praying the whole night before the race. When he entered the stadium the crowd went wild with excitement. The princes entered the track to accompany him while King George enthusiastically waved his naval hat in salute. The unexpected triumph of a Greek runner created a sensation that lasted for years.

The marathon is the brainchild of the French intellectual Michel Bréal. This race did not exist in antiquity but he drew inspiration from the legend of Pheidippides, the runner who announced the Athenian victory in Marathon. Ancient Greeks were not overly fond of long races (“Nothing in excess” was a well-known inscription at the temple of Apollo in Delphi) and yet it seems there were numerous runners who completed amazing feats of endurance…and then collapsed.

The stories of The legends of the marathon span millennia. They include the captivating efforts of Grigoris Lambrakis, a well-respected politician deeply involved in the anti-war movement of the 1960s, who attempted to walk from Marathon to Athens in the service of world nuclear disarmament only to be arrested and manhandled by the police. They shed light on the generous and charitable contributions of Georgios Averoff, a wealthy expatriate Greek from Alexandria, Egypt, who financed the reconstruction of the Panathenaic Stadium in Pentelic marble, the stone used for the Parthenon. And, of course, we cannot fail to mention the elephant in the room, the giant green glass Runner which announces to all marathon runners that the end of the race is near.


  • Louis’ marathon

    1. Louis’ marathon

    Born out of wild dreams and ignorance, the first marathon laid the foundations for a legacy of endurance and excellence that captivates the minds and hearts of runners and spectators.
  • Runners in armour

    2. Runners in armour

    There was a lot of running in ancient Marathon. First, the Athenians hastened to meet the Persians, who then fled to their ships defeated. But did someone run back to Athens to bring the news of victory?
  • The green runner

    3. The green runner

    Talk about dedication and exceeding expectations! The giant green glass runner near the finish line was designed to “run” for one month but thirty years later he is still at it!

Featured stories

Clio Muse

Our stories are zany and so is the team of creative writers, thinkers, doers & explorers behind them: a dedicated art conservator, who if left unattended will be found making stuff out of paper and fabric, a caring archaeologist with long Renaissance curls who loves art and baking & a passionate travel writer suffering from incurable wanderlust and a healthy obsession with Thomas Pynchon. To this, add a gifted graphic designer, who playfully experiments with designs, colors, hairstyles, and fashion transformations daily, and a world-class network of travel experts and accredited tour guides who share our crush for ingenuity and create distinctive tours and travel stories that bring the world closer to you!

See all by Clio Muse


Starting point Athens marathon, the authentic start line
Finishing point 1 Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina
Areas Marathon, Panathenaic Stadium
Recommended visiting hours 11.00a.m.-17.00p.m.

Why take a self-guided tour?

This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.

You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.

After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.

This tour is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. image/svg+xml

By clicking "Add to cart", you are purchasing this tour in English. This tour is also available in the following languages: Ελληνικά.