Running With Pheidippides: Stylianos Kyriakides, The Miracle Marathoner

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Syracuse University Press, Apr 1, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 283 pages
It is 1946. World War II is over. As the rest of Europe struggles to rebuild itself, Greece-which had bitterly resisted Nazi occupation-is ripped apart by civil war. Thousands are dead or dying of starvation. In the face of such epic disaster, one Greek athlete takes valiant action. This is the true story of Stylianos Kyriakides, champion Greek runner who against all odds entered the 1946 Boston, Marathon, a race he had lost eight years before. Now Kyriakides ran not just to win, but to wake the world to the plight of his people. Although ravaged by hunger, Kyriakides pushed his wracked body to the limits. Boston doctors urged him to quit. "You will die in the streets," they warned. Fueled by dauntless devotion to his countrymen and bolstered by the love of his wife, the runner persevered and triumphed. But winning the marathon was only the first step. With characteristic grit, Kyriakides remained in the United States long enough to raise money, equipment, and medical supplies for his country. A grateful Greece proclaimed him a hero. Nearly one million welcomed him home. Drawing on interviews and unprecedented access to family photos and papers, the authors vividly chronicle the real-life drama of Kyriakides: a runner who raced not for gold or glory, but for the betterment of his people and the survival of his homeland. From the shadowy Berlin Olympics to the dark days of Nazi Greece and its aftermath, Running with Pheidippides speaks vividly of war and deprivation, of athletic competition and camaraderie, of genuine valor in a world bereft of heroes. "For those of us who were young and Greek-American," recalls former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, "his victory in the 1946 Boston Marathon and the response of so many Americans to his pleas for help for his people was one of the most searing experiences of our young lives."

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A Crown of Wild Olive l
They Were Going to Kill Me
Kyriakides breaking the world record for 1946 frontispiece
Kyriakides in a sprinters pose
The Beautiful and the Good
Greek fans waiting for the champion Greek team
Boston Marathoner Johnny Kelley 5 7
k No Great Fortune Waits
Kyriakides and Johnny Kelley breaking away from the pack
The Altar of the Great Victor
Two running friends Kyriakides and Kelley embrace after a race
The Fruits of Victory
The Ancient Drama Begins Again
Kyriakides and his wife Iphigenia
Shadows in the Wind

Kyriakides and sponsor George Demeter
The Evil Comes to Greece
Starving Greeks at a 1941 Athens soup kitchen
The Song of Cyprus
Kyriakides and his wife in the early 1980s
Olympic credentials of 1936 and 1948

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About the author (2001)

Nick Tsiotos is a teacher in the Boston Public School System. Andy Dabilis is staff reporter and assistant editor at the Boston Globe. They are coauthors of Harry Agganis, "The Golden Greek": An All-American Story.

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