Today’s word is MARATHON. We all know that a MARATHON is an exhausting race – 26 miles and 385 yards. We refer to things that are lengthy and grueling as a MARATHON, although it need not be a foot race.
In 490 B.C. a Persian king, Darius, with 20,000 men attacked 10,000 Greeks at MARATHON. The Greek General Miltiades seeing that he was outnumbered sent Pheidippides to Sparta for help. Pheidippides ran the 140 miles to Sparta in 2 days. He explained the situation to the Spartans and requested help but the Spartans were celebrating a holy day dedicated to the god Apollo and refused to budge. Pheidippides returns to the field of MARATHON with the negative news. The Greeks, however, without the Spartans help, drive the Persians back to the sea and are victorious. General Miltiades now sends Pheidippides to Athens to announce the victory. Pheidippides runs to the center of Athens, a distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, announces “rejoice, we conquer”, and drops dead.
The field on which this famous battle took place belonged to a farmer who grew a very common crop. In Greek the item was called MARATHON but we know it as FENNEL. FENNEL is the seed or spice you put in sausages or bread. Many use the stem and the leaf for salad.