German plans 2,200 km run to celebrate Marathon

Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:50am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Max Chrambach

BERLIN (Reuters) - Juergen Mennel's 50-year-old feet have a lot of kilometers in them -- the social worker from Heilbronn estimates he has run the equivalent of more than seven times around the world.

But Mennel, a spindly man with a receding hairline, does not plan to give his feet a break after having run what he estimates to be 300,000 km (186,000 miles) over the last four decades.

He wants to mark the 2,500-year anniversary of the ancient battle of Marathon in Greece to run 2,200 km from his home in Heilbronn to Athens this autumn.

"I saw that the 2,500th anniversary was coming up and thought it would be a great athletic challenge to run from Germany to Greece," said Mennel, who plans to cover the distance from southwest Germany to Greece in 27 days.

That's an average of two full marathons a day. Mennel said he wants to honor his mythical forefathers with his run and create awareness about the health benefits of regular exercise.

His is one of several athletic events marking this year's anniversary of the original marathon run, culminating in the 28th Athens Classic Marathon in October.

The myth of the marathon dates back to the Athenian soldier Pheidippides, who ran from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. carrying the news of a Greek victory over the Persians and who is said to have collapsed and died at the end of his effort.

Mennel has spent his life in long-distance running.   Continued...