The Runner

None of the other runners noticed when he joined them, keeping pace with the others. There was something about this man that seemed familiar, especially to those who had been running marathons for years. The cameras would catch him as he jogged, but no one ever saw him start and no one ever saw him finish. For those who had seen the runner, there was no question who he was. He always encouraged the others, pushing them to finish the race. He had made it once, and they would too.
When they looked through the pictures, through the whole history of the sport since the invention of the camera, they found the same man running with the pack. He wore a number in every race and that number was never on the registered list of runners. They’d looked in every marathon, even when there were two races on one day. And there he was. They called him the Runner, but he had once had a name.
He burst into the assembly, just another soldier from the Athenian army. He bore news from the battle but all he could do was cry out one word, declare their victory. Then he fell to the stones of the floor, dead. He was the messenger. He was the runner. He was Philippides and his was the marathon.

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