1. Herodotus makes no mention of the run from Marathon to Athens
The principal source for the battle of Marathon is the Greek historian Herodotus. He makes no mention of the run from Marathon to Athens that forms the basis of the modern-day 26-mile Marathon run.
2. Herodotus describes Pheidippides running a longer journey to Sparta
Instead, Herodotus describes Pheidippides running a longer journey to Sparta-some 156 miles EACH WAY. Unfortunately, his plea for help and his 300-mile round trip was in vain. Sparta couldn’t help at that time as it was during an important religious festival. They would try to get to the battle when the festival had finished.
3. Writers have blended stories of the two separate runs
Writers have blended stories of the two separate runs (to Sparta to get help and then to Athens from Marathon after the battle to warn of a possible revenge attack from Persia).
4. First account of ‘marathon run’ 50 years after event
The first written account of the ’Marathon run’ was recorded as long as some 50 years after the event, so it is not surprising that some details were confused.
5. It was not entirely made up