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Original Marathon Runner Gave His All

At the end of the Summer Olympics, athletes will be participating in a special event, retracing the long distance run from which the Olympic event got its name. In 490 B.C. Pheidippides ran 26 miles to warn of the impending attack of the Persians upon his country. The route began in Marathon and ended in Sparta. Soon after he reached Sparta, Pheidippides died.

Analyzing lunar records, astronomers at Texas State University believe the cause of his death was due to heat stroke. Their research indicates the runner may have raced in temperatures reaching 102 degrees. (Modern runners begin in the evening.) The New Scientist quotes researcher Russell Doescher as saying: "It seems plausible that someone running for all he's got, trying to save his fellow citizens, could keel over and die."

The Apostle Paul gave a Pheidippides-like effort. Looking back on his life he was able to say: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

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