History

Chronology

Summer of 479 B.C

At the foot of Mount Cithaeron, outside the walls of Plataea on the plain, the most important and decisive battle of the Greeks against the Persians is made. The victory over the enemy is overwhelming; the Greeks once again had managed to stop the Persian invaders.

The remaining Persians after their overwhelming defeat retreat leaving behind ruined temples, burnt land and ruined altars. Following a consensus, the Greeks decide for the next 50 years not to restore any of the damaged sites, lest the younger generations forget the degree of the Persian barbarity.

The elation following the victory is overwhelming but the Plataeans remain restless. Plataeans consider their land is contaminated by the presence of the invaders. They agree that the inextinguishable fire of their city should be replaced with a new one from the sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi.

The rulers of the city call immediately after the battle, for hoplite and hemerodromos (day runner) Euchidas. Resting after the battle is unthinkable and any delay for purgation is considered an insult to the Gods. His mission is to go to Delphi and bring back the purified fire from the sanctuary of Apollo. 

Euchidas is exhausted after the battle but his mission is sacred. He departs right away running through ravines, mountains and paths to reach Delphi. Once there, he purifies himself at the Spring of Castalia, crowns himself with laurel and takes the purified fire from Apollo’s sanctuary. Euchidas returns to Plataea in approximately 24 hours having accomplished a distance of 1000 stades, almost 182 km (112 miles). 

Euchidas greets his fellow citizens, delivers the sacred fire to the sovereigns, and immediately collapses and expires after a short time. In admiration of him, the Plataeans bury him in the sanctuary of Artemis Eucleia, and inscribe as epitaph this tetrameter: Euchidas ran to Delphi and back in one day. 

1993. 2472 years later

The Euchidian feat (athlos) inspires and challenges a modern day runner Panayiotis Antonopoulos as he reads the pages of history in awe. On 1-2 May 1993, he tries to re-enact the feat of Euchidas and manages to cover the distance in 32 hours. That was the beginning…

A year later in 1994, Antonopoulos and friends founded the Hellenic Triathlon Club and Long Duration Events “Euchidas”. The purpose of the club is to organise the Euchidian feat. Since its inception, the club organises and carries out the Euchidian torch relay from Delphi to Plataea, bearing the sacred fire from Delphi on an annual basis. Nevertheless, all these years the main dream was the realisation of the Euchidian athlos as a foot race.

The Race

The dream was finally realised in 2000. From that year to this day, the race has been organised successfully 19 times. Central Greece has now its own race being welcomed by runners and sponsors every year. The character of the race, its historical significance, the beauty of the route and the fact that the race is organised by runners, attract more and more runners who want to run the classic distance of 107.5km from Plataea to Delphi.
The organisers take care to designate the route, man 19 checkpoints, have physiotherapists at two central checkpoints and provide vehicles for health and safety reasons so that all runners get to experience the elation of finishing a race with unique history and significance. The route crosses the regional unit of Boeotia from north to south, to the best possible accuracy. The elevation is challenging, but of unique beauty and interest at the same time. The runners will ascent and descent Mount Helicon reaching an altitude of 1050 metres while crossing landscapes of natural beauty. A unique scenery is waiting all runners who reach Delphi, the centre of the world, with water from the Castalian Spring, a laurel wreath and a warm applause from the spectators.

A new attempt was made in 2005 with two races taking place simultaneously. That year the feat of Euchidas was revived in its entirety with the Euchidios Athlos from Plataea to Delphi (107.5km), and the Euchidios Hyper Athlos from Delphi to Plataea and back (215km). 

From 2005 the Euchidios Hyper Athlos has been organised seven times, and from 2014 onward,the hyper athlos , is taking place every two years.

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