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.
Athens marathon, the authentic start line
Marathon, Panathenaic Stadium
Recommended visiting hours
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.
By clicking "Add to cart", you are purchasing this tour in English. This tour is also available in the following languages: Ελληνικά.