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Did you ever wonder where the marathon came from? Retrace the route of Pheidippides, the legendary Greek hemerodrone (professional running courier), whose final duty in 490 BC led to the creation of the modern marathon.
The story of Pheidippides doesn't start with his final assignment to tell the news of victory to the assembly of rulers in Athens, however. First, Pheidippides, known as the fastest day-runner in the Athenian Army, was given the charge to run 153 miles from Athens to Sparta to ask King Leonidas for help in fighting the Persian Army in the brewing battle at the fields of Marathon. Although sympathetic to the Athenians, the Spartans declined to assist until after the conclusion of the religious festival they were in the midst of celebrating. Pheidippides then ran back the 153 miles to Athens to deliver the news. After a few days rest, he marched with his fellow soldiers 25 miles to the fields of Marathon, fought in the battle where the outnumbered Athenians were able to defeat the Persians, then was charged with delivering the news of victory to Athens. Legend has it that Pheidippides ran from the battlefield 25 miles to the assembly of rulers in Athens, proclaimed "We have won!" then collapsed and died from exhaustion.
Can you retrace the steps of Pheidippides? In the Pheidippides Challenge, you will retrace the distance of Pheidippides' journey 356 miles. Along the way, you'll learn more about his journey, his encounter with the Greek God Pan and the Battle of Marathon. How fast can you complete the world's first UltraMarathon?
Each year, suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Yet suicide prevention doesn't receive anywhere near the funding as other leading causes of death. It's up to us to make a difference. Together we can change the conversation about mental health and put a stop to this tragic loss of life. With the continuation of the constraints of the pandemic, suicide rates are on the rise and continues to be a leading cause of death for all ages. For this challenge, we're partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national organization dedicated to suicide prevention, and Tudor House, a new non-profit dedicated to assisting people in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia who are affected by suicide. A portion of the proceeds of this event will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and to Tudor House.
Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:
Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement.
Tudor House is a local charity that is in its beginning stages of fundraising and getting established within the Roanoke, Virginia community. Tudor House will be a place where people can get support, and have access to suicide prevention and education. Tudor House strives to improve the lives of everyone who needs help within the community with the prevention of loss. The Tudor Family wants to shed light on the seriousness of mental illness, and the lack of community resources. Tudor House will be a place where people in the Roanoke Valley can go to feel safe and get support for grief and loss as well as access to suicide prevention. This foundation is being started to ensure that no family will have to go through this alone, helping provide navigation during difficult times.
All participants in the Pheidippides Challenge will earn a medal to show off their 356 mile achievement! The design features Pheidippides on his journey across Greece, a large "356", and a custom ribbon with coordinating design.
All participants will receive a LONG-SLEEVE performance shirt from Leslie Jordan Apparel! These 100% polyester shirts are a great base layer for any of your favorite outdoor activities. They fit TRUE TO SIZE, and sleeves are plenty long! Design coming soon.
When you register for an event, you will get a link to distribute to friends and gain referrals. For every 5 people who register using your link, you will get a $20 referral reward! They must use your link to register or the referral will not count. Share your link with friends and family, on social media, and in your running groups!
By registering for the Pheidippides Challenge, you'll get:
There are lots of team options for this challenge! Two, three, and four person team relays, and Corporate teams.
The team "relay" option is for 2, 3, or 4 people who want to complete the 356 miles together. For the relay teams, one person (the captain) registers and pays for the entire team. During registration, the captain will create a password for the team. Then, the captain will communicate with the other team member(s) the team name and password, and teammates will register like normal, answering "yes" to the question about joining the team. They will enter the team name and password, and at checkout the amount owed will be $0. Team members are responsible for reimbursing the captain for their portion of the entry fee. On these relay teams, the mileage does NOT have to be split evenly between team members.
Corporate teams are designed for companies to pay for a portion or all of the entry fee for their employees. If you are an employer or other individual wanting to pay for others' entries, this option is for you. Corporate teams CAN include relay teams within them!
You will be logging your miles directly into the RunSignUp System. You will get an email with instructions for you to upload directly. If you do not get the email, you can follow the below instructions. You will not be able to enter data until December 1 (for Wave 1) or January 1 (for Wave 2). If you are having any trouble, please contact: email@example.com
To log through your profile, follow these instructions:
To log through the website, follow these instructions:
Q: What miles count?
A: Miles that are earned while you are exercising- out for a run or walk are what you should count. While we all know that a weekly grocery trip logs at least a half mile while you go from the produce section to the freezer section and then back to the produce section when you forget the lettuce, but that doesn't count towards challenge miles. Please only log miles that are put forth in an exercise effort.
Q: How do I log my miles?
A: To log through your profile, follow these instructions:
To log through the website, follow these instructions:
Q: Do I have to be in the United States to complete the event?
A: No! You can complete the event from anywhere in the world! International shipping requires an extra $20 that can be added on during registration.
Q: Can I run on trails?
A: Yes! Pheidippides certainly didn't have any asphalt to run on! Running or walking on any surface counts- road, trails, greenways, treadmills, hot coals (not recommended), or even a bed of nails (ouch!). Even a weekend hike with the family counts!
Q: For Relay teams, do all the participants have to run equal distances?
A: No! Relay teams are great for couples, friends near and far, the office, and families! Each person logs the mileage they complete until the total reaches 356 miles.
Q: How do I sign up a relay team?
A: One person should sign up for the 2- 3- or 4-person relay team and create the team. This person is the captain and will create a team name and password (recommended) and pay the entire race fee for the team. After completion of the captain's registration is done, s/he should send all teammates the team name and password, and the others can register. Make sure you're registering under the same category (2- 3- or 4- person team), and choose "Join an Existing Relay Team" at the prompt after the waiver. Select the team name from the dropdown menu and enter the password. Continue with the remainder of registration and pay $0.
Q: What if I'm signed up for other virtual events?
A: If you're running a virtual race like a 5K or 10K, you can count those miles toward your challenge distance too! Running another challenge event or race? Well, we'll leave the judgement up to you on that one!
Q: I'm registering late. Can I log my miles that I ran before I registered?
A: Yes! You can register all qualified miles that you have run starting December 1 (for Wave 1) or January 1 (for Wave 2). Registration deadline is January 10!
Q: How can I see the cumulative mileage for my relay team?
A: On the results page, click on the team name (you may have to scroll right), and that will show you cumulative mileage for the team.
Q: I'm not appearing in the results, but I logged miles. Why am I not showing up in the results?
A: When you set up your Runsignup account, if you opted to remain anonymous in results, then you will not see your results. You can change that if you wish- here are the instructions: https://help.runsignup.com/support/solutions/articles/17000064490-hide-yourself-from-public-lists
Q: I am a disabled athlete and use a handcycle or a push-rim wheelchair. Can I sign up?
A: Yes! We're excited to be able to include ALL athletes! When logging miles, both handcycle and push-rim wheelchair are options for activities.
Q: When will I get my shirt and medal?
A: We'll be shipping shirts and medals together starting the week of January 1 for those that finish the challenge by that date. Remaining packages will be shipped as you finish.
Q: I live outside of the U.S. Can I participate?
A: Yes! For international participants, please select the International Shipping Add-on for $20. This will pay for the additional shipping cost of your shirt and medal. If you do not select this option and live outside of the U.S., you will not receive the shirt and medal.
If you have any questions about this challenge, click the button below.
We're always looking for great sponsors for our events and the Pheidippides Challenge is no different! For this challenge, ALL sponsorship dollars will go directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or Tudor House - your choice! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and sponsorship levels.
THANK YOU to our sponsors!
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