The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides

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A new book about the origins of the marathon is available through booksellers March 2006. The story of one runner with a gift in his legs and courage in his heart, it is meant to inspire kids of all ages.

An inspirational marathon book for children hits bookstores this spring. Long-time children’s book publisher Albert Whitman & Company has announced the March 1, 2006 publication of The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides, by Susan Reynolds, illustrated by Daniel Minter (32 pp., ages 8 & up).

The book has earned early praise from “Booklist,” a national book reviewer: “Reynolds goes back 2,500 years to tell the exciting story of how the Greeks fought the mighty Persian army on the plains of Marathon, and how the young long-distance runner Pheidippides ran 140 miles in 36 hours to Sparta to ask for help, then ran back without stopping, fought in the battle, ran to tell Athens of the victory, and died. Now marathons are named for his historic run. The dramatic, full-color, double-page illustrations, with heavy black accents, show the strong, rhythmic movement of the brave young athlete, the battle scenes, and then runners across the world today. . . . A long, fascinating afterword for older readers offers information about the research, the line between legend and history, and the struggle of women to participate in marathons.”

The First Marathon ends by encouraging children to participate in marathons: “The teller of this tale has finished a marathon and can tell you that Pheidippides did something truly heroic. Anyone who finishes a marathon has also done a great thing. Who knows, maybe someday you will finish a marathon as well. As you run, think of Pheidippides and have a brave heart!” Who knows, maybe this children’s book will inspire the adult reader as well.

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Susan Reynolds
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