After the great defeat of the Persians by the Greeks in 490 B.c. at Marathon, a runner, named Pheidippides, ran at full speed to Athens, carrying the good news. So exhausted was he by his effort that on his arrival he fell dead. The distance from Marathon to Athens by road (calculated at 26 miles 385 yards) was taken as that for the race introduced into the modern Olympic Games when they were instituted in 1896. Many so-called Marathon races have been run on other occasions than at the Games.