SPORTS

Pheidippides’s daughter pens story of her feat

When the human body wants to give up, it is the spirit that takes over, as it’s only that which can perform miracles such as that by Greek Marathon record holder Maria Polyzou, as described in her own book “Psyche te kai Somati” (i.e. Spirit and Body), out on hardback in Greek as well as in English by The Great Oar publications.

Back in 2010, Polyzou “ran the impossible”. She became the first woman in the world to complete the so-called Pheidippides feat, i.e. the run of 524 kilometers (326 miles) from Athens to Sparta, back to Athens and then on to Marathon, on the occasion of the 2,500-year anniversary of the historic Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.

“Psyche te kai Somati” is her second effort to run that course, this time in spirit only, since it does not just serve as a timeline of that unique feat, but it also presents in detail the inner battles Polyzou fought against doubt, fear and exhaustion, to reach a state of mind that often made her feel like hovering over the road, oblivious of her physical tiredness.

“We march on” is the ever-so-timely message of the book to its readers and to Greece, as this was Polyzou’s own motto during the grueling challenge she brought herself into with remarkable success.

Besides being particularly emotional the book – which includes footage from the actual feat on DVD – highlights the conclusions one can deduce from pushing one’s boundaries, as expressed by a special Greek runner, mother and woman. Polyzou claims that when she set out to run the 524 km, her mind had already crossed the finish line. Upon reading the book, one gets the impression she runs the course and crosses the line every single day.

Referring to the book, Deputy Minister for Sports Yiannis Ioannidis singled out the phrase: “Desires and dreams push you forward”, which serves as a synopsis of the former Greek champion’s fearless spirit.