Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Art of Running... Artful Thursday

In light of my recent entry into My Very first 5k Race, I have decided to dedicate this Artful Thursday to Ancient Greek Runners. The Greeks prided themselves on physical fitness. And not simply weightlifting, or muscle building. A disproportionate, bulging, swollen appearance was definitely not the goal. But rather overall proportionate perfection. *That* was the goal.

In that spirit, they created any number of competitive physical contests and in some cases organized them into Games. The breadth and depth of ancient Greek athletics is fodder for another post. Here, let us honor some famous ancient Greek runners from mortals to Gods. These people elevated running to an art form.

First I'll list a few famous mortal runners.

Orsippos of Megara
He won the foot race in 720 BC, and distinguished himself as the first Greek to run naked in Olympia.

Ladas of Argos

He won the Dolichos race at 460 BC. He was famous for his light running. It was said, that his feet did not leave tracks on the ground.

The Death Of Ladas, The Greek Runner, Who Died When Receiving The Crown Of Victory In The Temple Of Olympia
George Murray (1899-1904)

Lasthenes of Thebes
He won the Dolichos at 404 BC. He also won a contest between him and a racehorse, who ran from Koroneia to Thebes.

Aegeus of Argos
Another famous long distance runner from Argos was Aegeus, who won at Olympia in 328 BC. He ran to Argos to bring the good news without making any stops.  

Leonidas of Rhodes
He was the only ancient Greek athlete to accomplish the impossible, winning four consecutive Olympiads.

Next we have the famous Pheidippedes who ran the legendary 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory.

Finally a few deities who were known for their running:

Atalanta (deity status disputed)

and lastly...