Pheideppides ran more than the 42km from Marathon to Athens. Much more. The Father of History (or Lies, as some would have him), Herodotus, identified him as the herald or hemerodrome (day runner) who in 490BC was sent by the Athens government to Sparta, 246km away, to ask for help against a Persian invasion force that was to land at Marathon.

While there was sympathy, no help came from Sparta. So back Pheideppides RAB with the bad news. From there, legend has it that he went on to Marathon and, after the battle, returned to Athens with the joyful news that its army had defeated the Persians. He then collapsed and died from exhaustion.

The Spartathlon has been held every year in September since 1983 to commemorate a portion of this legendary feat. Modern-day Spartathlon runners must complete the 246km distance from Athens to Sparta in under 36 hours.

The Road to Sparta, an hour-long, award-winning documentary of this race by Ragged Rock Films, in association with Tribal Films has recently been released on DVD.

The documentary focuses on the efforts of four runners who ran the race in 2014: famed “UltraMarathon Man” Dean Karnazes, Athens nurse Angela Terzi, teacher Mark Woolley, and project manager Rob Pinnington.

READ MORE: ‘The Road to Sparta’ set to hit screens in Melbourne

Karnazes ran the race fuelled by the same diet of pasteli, dried meat and figs that Pheideppides would have used. For Terzi, it was the first time to attempt the race, while Wolley, a seasoned climber and runner had already completed three previous Spartathlons. Pinnington, on the other hand, failed in his previous two attempts and he was desperate to finish this time.

In parallel with their experiences, is the story of Pheideppides as told through the verse of the acclaimed Athens-based American poet AE Stallings. The poems are read by Greek actors Renos Haralambidis and Malamatenia Gotsi.

Old House Playground, a Graeco-English band featuring Tryfon Lazos, on bouzouki and vocals, Andreas Venetantes on drums and percussion and Jago Furnas on bass, provide the musical score.

READ MORE: The Road to Sparta

The documentary, directed by Barney Spender and Roddy Gibson, won the following awards:· Best Documentary at the Satisfied Eye Film Festival (UK) 2018; Best Director (Documentary) – Enginuity Film Festival (USA) 2018; Best Poetry – Motion Picture Film Festival (Nigeria) 2018.
It includes interviews with the directors, as well as trailers and a video of Lazos and Venetantes composing the score for the film.

The Road to Sparta is available via direct sale from: